NY Gas Tax “Holiday” Opposed By Transit, Anti-Poverty, Environmental and Govt Watchdogs


Community Service Society of New York • Earthjustice
Environmental Advocates NY • New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York State Council of Churches • Open Plans
Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC)
Regional Plan Association • Reinvent Albany
Riders Alliance • Right Of Way NYC
Rise and Resist Elevator Action Group • StreetsPAC
Transportation Alternatives • Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Statement in Opposition to NYS Gas Tax Holiday

Our groups strongly oppose a state “gas tax holiday” because it does little to help those New Yorkers most hurt by rising prices, takes revenue away from needed road and transit investments and completely contradicts New York’s climate goals.

If the State Legislature seriously wants to help those New Yorkers hardest hit by increases in food, housing and energy costs it should provide targeted state aid. In New York State and nationally, wealthy people drive far more than low-income people.1 This means that a New York State gas tax holiday would disproportionately benefit those who need help the least.

Worse, a gas tax holiday will also disproportionately hurt low-income and vulnerable New Yorkers who rely on public transit and are already pushed to the wall by high transit fares, including the one of five households in the Bronx which simply cannot afford transit trips required by their everyday lives. The MTA, which carries nearly 40 percent of U.S. transit riders, says a gas tax holiday could have a negative impact on their bond rating, which means higher borrowing costs that would need to be paid back with higher fares.

Supporters of a gas tax holiday say not to worry, money will be transferred from general fund tax revenue to pay for lost transit and road funds. This is misguided for many reasons. General tax revenue could be used for targeted benefits to those most hurt by rising prices or many other socially beneficial investments. The entire idea behind the gas tax is to have motorists pay for the roads they use, encourage the use of mass transit, and discourage consumption of gasoline that produces climate warming carbon dioxide and other pollution.

We urge the Governor, Assembly and Senate to reject a gas tax holiday.

1 See https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/23cpr/chap3.cfm, Exhibit 3-24. Nationally, the wealthiest 17% of households did 26% of the driving. The 22% lowest-income households did 9% of the driving.