The Examiner

State Senator Proposes Gas Sales Tax Holiday, Rebate to Combat High Prices

News Article Article pages that do not meet specifications for other Trust Project Type of Work labels and also do not fit within the general news category.

We are part of The Trust Project
State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick unveils his plan Wednesday to temporarily suspend the state gas sales tax and provide motorists with a $250 rebate to offset the spiraling prices.

A lower Hudson Valley state legislator has proposed suspending the state sales tax and giving every car owner a $250 rebate to help ease consumers’ pain at the pumps.

State Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (D-Nyack) appeared at the Briarcliff Manor Exxon station on Pleasantville Road Wednesday afternoon where gas was nearly $5 a gallon to pitch the urgency of his proposals. On Monday Reichlin-Melnick’s proposed state gas tax holiday was included in the Senate’s One House Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2023.

His plan would be to suspend the state sales tax from May 1 until the end of the year regardless of the direction of gas prices. The senator estimated that it would save 17 cents a gallon, a likely $2 to $3 savings every time a motorist fills up.

“That makes a real difference,” Reichlin-Melnick said. “We know that so much of the price of gas is outside of our control. It’s determined at the international level and everything that’s going on in the world today, but in New York State we can take action today to try and help at the margins and really try to chip away at the cost people are paying.”

To supplement the suspension of the state sales tax for gas, the second part of Reichlin-Melnick’s proposal would be to provide a $250 rebate for every car owner. Owners of multiple cars would receive just one rebate, he said.

Eliminating the sales tax on gas would cost the state about $650 million in revenue, the senator estimated. He projected it would cost as much as $900 million to issue the rebates.

Reichlin-Melnick said the state would be able to trim from a variety of areas in the budget along with possibly putting less surplus money aside to give consumers a temporary break. Since so many New Yorkers on limited budgets are having to spend more on gas, that’s less money they’re spending on other goods and services, he said.

“We know that we need to take steps, we know we need to take action because every dollar people are having to spend to get around, just to get where they need to go, to get to work or drop their kids at school or pick them up from soccer or anything like that, that’s money they can’t save, they can’t use for their college tuition, they can’t use to buy goods at local businesses,” Reichlin-Melnick said.

Steven Cebel, the owner of the Exxon service station where Reichlin-Melnick made his announcement, said his business has plummeted 40 to 45 percent since the spike in gas prices several weeks ago. That has a ripple effect for the station’s convenience store with far fewer sales because of the loss of customers.

A gallon of regular gas sold for $4.91 at the station on Wednesday afternoon.

Cebel said he supports the proposed sales tax holiday for gas to give consumers and him and his fellow gas station owners a break.

“People are more frugal buying gas and who can blame them,” he said. “In the meantime, expenses are the same.”

Ossining Town Supervisor Dana Levenberg, whose municipality is represented by Reichlin-Melnick in the state Senate, said she fears for strapped consumers who are being crushed by the escalating gas prices and also for other businesses who are also feeling the pinch.

“More than anything right now, peoples’ pocketbooks are hurting, they are in very tough times, and anything we can do or can be done at the state level is incredibly appreciated here,” Levenberg said.

Reichlin-Melnick said he is hopeful that the Assembly and Gov. Kathy Hochul will be receptive to both his proposals. There are also other measures related to easing the pain at the pumps that are being proposed by other legislators from around the state, he said.

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.