Need for Balance on NYS’s Energy Future

The cost of a gallon of gas keeps climbing. The warnings keep coming over significantly higher home heating costs this winter, and who knows how many winters to come.
The Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) introduced earlier this year by the Democrat majorities in both the State Senate and Assembly proposes accelerated state-level actions to achieve broad and far-reaching climate change policies.
Of course, to help pay for it, it includes a new 55 cents-per-gallon gas tax, as well as increased taxes on heating oil, propane, and natural gas, which is estimated to increase home heating fuel costs by 26 percent.
The CCIA is projected to raise $15 billion annually. Keep in mind that New York State accounts for approximately 0.5 percent of global carbon emissions. The CCIA does not apply to neighboring states, nor does it apply to China, India or Russia, which account for 40 percent of global emissions.
In our view, the CCIA is a bad move, to say the least. New Yorkers are already being hit by so many higher costs across the board, and now is no time for state government to make it worse all in the name of progressive politics.
And especially not when the Albany powers that be already raised taxes in this year’s state budget by more than $4 billion to help pay for a whopping $18 billion in increased spending.
It has set in motion an unending search for more tax dollars to afford higher and higher spending, and every taxpayer will pay the price at the pump, to heat homes, and in a lot of other places and ways.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), which represents more than 10,000 small businesses in New York State and hundreds of thousands more across the nation, has stated its strong opposition to the CCIA.
They highlight one of the key points: even without the CCIA, New York State has already established aggressive renewable energy goals. Working groups are underway on how to best achieve the current targets to tackle New York’s 0.5 percent impact on global climate change.
The CCIA even expects job losses and negative impacts to school and local government property tax bases.
It establishes a “Just Fund” that will provide compensation for displaced workers up to three years of wages, and payments to school districts and local governments for lost tax revenues resulting from industries being shuttered.
It’s our belief that at every step of the way there must be a constant recognition of the need for balance and common sense in pursuit of the overriding goals for New York’s energy future.
There absolutely must be a meaningful analysis of the costs versus the benefits of these actions and the impacts they will have on our energy system’s reliability, as well as affordability.
Instead of raising another tax or fee, Governor Kathy Hochul should immediately suspend the state’s gas tax, as our Senate and Assembly Republican conferences have recently called for.
It’s looking more and more like New York will be left stranded by the side of the economic road while having no discernible impact on the global climate.

State Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano are upstate Republican lawmakers.

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