By Kevan M. Abrahams
Minority Leader, Nassau County Legislature
Finally - a little bit of good news about gas prices.
On Wednesday, June 1, Nassau County will begin a gas tax holiday that will last through the rest of the year. During that time, Nassau will not charge sales tax on any portion of the price of gas exceeding $3/gallon. In addition, New York State will cut gasoline taxes by 20 cents per gallon. All told, these tax cuts will reduce the prices you pay at the pump by approximately 28 cents per gallon. The beginning of Nassau County’s long-awaited gas tax holiday marks the culmination of a months long advocacy campaign by the members of the Minority Caucus. Starting on March 9, we fought to secure permission from State lawmakers to have a gas tax holiday - something we accomplished when the state budget was adopted a month later. Soon after, a local gas tax holiday was approved and signed into law. Despite initial resistance from County Executive Blakeman and the Legislative Majority, we prevailed in our efforts to deliver some real relief from the sticker shock we are all experiencing at the pump.
We remain disappointed, however, that County Executive Blakeman has thus far failed to deliver the maximum amount of relief allowable under state law. In fact, he could have made this gas tax holiday much better and longer lasting for Nassau consumers by passing the Minority Caucus plan, which, at current prices, would have boosted cumulative savings to 32 cents per gallon and extended Nassau’s portion of the holiday through March of next year. Instead, he decided not to save you more money and passed a watered-down version of our plan. That is truly unfortunate, and we will continue our fight to put money where it belongs - back into the hands of consumers.
As we continue to engage in these efforts, it is important to note that New York State law requires gas stations to pass tax holiday savings on to consumers. Failure to do so constitutes illegal price gouging under the law.
We encourage you to contact our district offices to share your concerns about suspected price gouging and to report incidents directly to the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James at https://ag.ny.gov or 1-800-771-7755 and the Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs at 516-571-2600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kevan M. Abrahams, of Freeport, represents the First Legislative District and is the leader of the Nassau County Legislature’s Minority Caucus.