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At ‘holiday,’ state still making out

Well June 1 rolled in and after much hullabaloo over the past several months from legislators, we finally saw a 20-cent a gallon “tax holiday.” What many fail to realize is that the steadily increasing prices on gasoline that we have seen since the start of the Biden administration actually result in tax revenue windfalls for our state and local governments.

While New York state does have a per gallon fuel tax, in addition to that is the sales tax. The sales tax is based on the total amount of the sale, not just the gallons.

What this amounts to is if you filled up with 20 gallons of gas on the first day of the Biden administration, the average price per gallon was $2.39. That would mean your 20 gallon fillup would cost $47.80. Of that $47.80, the sales tax in Chautauqua County would have been $3.54.

That same 20 gallon fillup on May 31 at $4.79 would cost $95.80. Of that $95.80, $7.10 is state sales tax, a tax increase of $3.56, or 100.5%.

So, here we are with our “tax holiday” which with all due credit, reduces that 20 gallon fillup by $4, but keep these things in mind while you’re suddenly smiling … sarcastically … at the gas pump.

¯ Gov. Kathy Hochul was against any fuel tax “holiday” and would have preferred to just add the 100.5% increase in sales tax to her budget.

¯ The so called “holiday” took effect 18 days before the primaries and will end on Dec, 31, shortly after the midterms.

¯ While prices have risen steadily over the past two years, there was no relief, only steadily increasing tax revenue for our elected officials to spend like drunken sailors on shore leave.

¯ Most elected officials have been totally silent about the tax windfalls that motorists have been financing at increasing levels over the past twp years, knowing full well that the tax is hidden behind a “price per gallon” at the pump, thereby passing blame to “greedy oil companies.”

¯ Gas prices were rising quickly well before the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

¯ Most elected officials in New York state have remained silent while the Biden administration shut down U.S. Energy independence and again shackled the hands of the oil industry with total disregard for the consequences to the American people.

So pardon me if I don’t lead the cheer for our elected officials who feel a need to offer “relief to motorists” during the mid-term election season. It might have seemed a little more sincere a year or so ago and lasted a little longer than six months.

After all, in January when there’s an immediate increase of 20 cents a gallon going directly to tax revenue, our “representatives” won’t have to worry about losing votes. New Yorkers should remember this at the polls in November.

Jerome Maras is a Dunkirk resident.

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