State Republicans, Democrats call for action on expiring gas tax break

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New Yorkers could start paying more for gas in the new year, but there are growing calls to keep that from happening.

People have been saving 16¢ per gallon because part of the state’s gas tax is suspended. However, that tax break will expire at the end of this year.

Travel over Thanksgiving is expected to reach nearly 98% of pre-pandemic volume.

Nearly 55 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving, according to AAA. That’s up 1.5% from last year.

The national average for a gallon of regular gas is $3.74, down six cents from last week. Drivers in the Capital Region are paying more. Wednesday’s average was $3.98 for a gallon of regular. That number was $3.52 at this time last year.

“It’s definitely still tough out here, gas needs to be lowered, keep going, please,” said an Albany resident filling up his car Wednesday.

State Democrats and Republicans called for the legislature and the governor to, at the least, extend the current gas tax holiday, giving New Yorkers a 16¢ break from the state gas tax. Some people are paying less, depending on whether the county tax is suspended.

Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said it is “unacceptable” to let the tax holiday expire. He called on the legislature to pass his bill to extend the tax holiday a full year, a bill from March that would save people 48¢ per gallon — the full state gas tax.

Republican State Senator Jim Tedisco was in favor of a special session, and offered a different proposal, which begins a cap on the state gas tax when gas costs more than $2.25, and suspends 33¢ per gallon anytime gas hits above $3.00.

“As soon as they can call us back, we can get back. We can get back Monday, they call us back right now, we can get back Monday,” Tedisco said, indicating he supports extending the tax holiday, at the very least. “This is not the time for locals, the state of New York, even the federal government to take their foot off the brake as it relates to inflation, and in this case reducing that burden of the one essential thing that Upstaters have to have.”

Santabarbara said that earlier this year, Gov. Kathy Hochul had only agreed to sign a 16¢ break. He said Wednesday he hadn’t heard from the governor’s office, but that his bill had support from established sponsors in the Assembly and the Senate.