New York Republican lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled a package of proposals meant to contain sharply rising home energy costs this year ahead of a winter that's expected to see skyrocketing utility bills.
The lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, Assemblyman Jake Ashby and state Senate candidate Richard Amedure, want to provide home heating tax credits, repeal energy taxes and fees and make permanent tax suspensions on gasoline purchases.
At the same time, Republicans are skeptical of the state's plan to transition to more renewable forms of energy in the coming years as a way of combating climate change. While signaling support for clean energy infrastructure, the lawmakers want a cost-benefit analysis of draft plans for the transition, pointing to the effect it could have on New Yorkers' utility bills.
“Everyday New Yorkers are feeling the effects of sky-high inflation and rising energy costs," Ashby said. "At a time when our government should be focusing on making New York more affordable, they have decided to double down on their radical policies, making it even harder for New Yorkers to make ends meet. We all have a shared interest in protecting our environment, but we must not do it at the expense of our residents and small businesses."
The clean energy transition is expected to overhaul how New Yorkers power their homes, businesses and cars. It means sweeping changes for how energy is transmitted and what kind of fuel is used to power it.
Supporters of the changes argue they are necessary to curtail climate change and could be beneficial in creating jobs in a growing sector of the economy for solar, wind and hydroelectric power.
But in the immediate and short term, energy bills are expected to rise this winter due to a variety of factors, from global upheaval and supply chain complications. Gas prices have come down since the spring, but still remain higher than they were a year ago.
State lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul agreed to suspend about 17 cents in gasoline taxes, a move that is set to expire at the end of the year. Half of New York voters in a Siena College poll this week identified the economy as a top concern for them heading into November.
New York voters this November are also expected to take up a proposed $4.2 billion bond act to support environmental infrastructure like water and sewer upgrades. The poll found broad support for the measure.