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Suffolk and Nassau counties cap gas tax at $3 per gallon

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Nassau and Suffolk County officials have announced a lockstep resolution to cap the tax on gas and motor fuel in both counties at $3.

The legislation will go into effect June 1, at which point only the first $3 per gallon of gas purchased will be taxed at 4 1/4%, the rate applicable in both counties. Any amount over $3 per gallon will not be taxed.

AAA reports Suffolk County’s average gas price is about $4.08. At that price, the $3 tax cap would save drivers about 5 cents per gallon.

In a joint press conference Tuesday, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said he recently heard a $3 gas tax cap would be recommended to the Suffolk Legislature and took a liking to the idea.

“I went back to my budget people, and we felt, like they did, that that was the most reasonable thing to do because it brings us back to approximately 2020 levels and that it was something that was meaningful but at the same time would not impact in a negative way on our budget,” Blakeman said.

The Suffolk and Nassau legislation follows similar action out of Albany. The State Legislature’s budget, approved last week, included provisions to cut approximately 16 cents per gallon of gas from June 1 to the year’s end. The body also granted local reign to cut local taxes at the pumps to help their residents.

Nassau approved the motion Monday evening, with Suffolk joining the lockstep move Tuesday morning.

“This is fast in the private sector, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said of the joint action between the counties Tuesday. “For government, this is absolutely lightning speed. This is an emergency resolution that was adopted by the legislature today.”

Rising costs beyond the pump

The executive’s joint press conference Tuesday came mere hours after the Labor Department released its monthly Consumer Price Index report. The report concludes inflation rose to 8.5% across the nation over the past 12 months.

The gasoline index rose 18.3 %. This rise came in the foreground of the war in Ukraine, which has now raged on for about seven weeks.

The report also highlights surging costs in the grocery store and the housing market. The food index rose 1% and the food at home index rose 1.5%.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash