Cap taxes on gasoline

The steep decline in gasoline prices is reflected in local sales tax revenues, an illustration of how highly taxed gasoline is locally.

Montgomery County’s sales tax declined by the highest percentage in New York state for the fourth quarter of 2015. The decline was 8.3 percent, a $619,171 loss in year-over-year revenue for the fourth quarter. Montgomery County gets 23 percent of its sales tax from the sale of fuel.

The sales tax loss for Fulton County was less pronounced, at 3.2 percent, down $161,131.

New York state has one of the highest average gasoline prices in the United States, and part of the reason is the 45 cents derived from seven state taxes added to every gallon sold.

Fortunately, since 2006, the state has capped its 4 percent sales tax on gasoline at $2 per gallon. When the price goes above $2 per gallon, no additional state sales tax is added.

Our local counties, however, continue to add the tax, creating a burden for local residents buying their gas here.

Sales tax applied to gasoline is disproportionately paid by the working poor and middle class. Our local counties should bring their gasoline taxes into line with the state’s policies.

People often complain about the higher gas prices in our region. Capping local taxes on gas would make a difference.

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