There's no guarantee New York drivers will see a positive impact from the suspension of the state's sales tax on gasoline, though the issue remains under review, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday.
Hochul, in Rochester for an event with local officials, indicated, however, she is speaking with officials in her budget office and did not rule out taking action on the issue.
"We don't have any guarantee that if you suspend a 10-cent per gallon tax on gas that it's actually going to result in lower taxes, because it's going to keep going up," she said, referring the state's excise tax on gasoline.
She added, "I want to make sure that if we do something, it's actually going to have an impact."
State lawmakers in both parties in New York are calling for a gas tax suspension amid a sharp rise in prices brought on in part by inflation as well as the war in Ukraine. The average gallon of gas in some areas of the state is topping $4.
On Friday, Democratic state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara called for a one-year suspension of the tax. On Monday, Republican lawmakers in the state Senate announced a similar push.
“Driving to work, the grocery store, the doctor, or to pick up the kids from any number of locations is a reality of life where we live,” said state Sen. Peter Oberacker. “Higher gasoline costs are a constant budget burden and the price at the pump is on the rise again due to a number of factors. Fortunately, Albany has the ability to offer immediate relief by suspending the state gas tax.”
Revenue from the state sales tax on gas goes in part to road and bridge repair. Suspending the gas tax could deprive highway budgets of those funds, while gasoline itself would continue to rise.
"If I knew it was really going to be felt in the pockets of consumers, that's a different equation," Hochul said. "Prices are going to keep going up and up and up."
Rep. Tom Suozzi, meanwhile, called for a suspension of imported oil from Russia. He had previously called in December for a three-month gas tax holiday.
"Putin is using energy as a tool to fund his unjust and inhumane war on Ukraine," said Suozzi, a Democratic candidate for governor. "Real energy security comes from the U.S. reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign fuel. A ban on Russian oil will defund Putin’s war and move our country toward energy independence. True energy independence will help lower energy costs for New Yorkers.”