Monday, July 17, 2006

Gas Tax Cap Proposal Full of Schmitt

What's worse than taxes?
A badly planned psuedo-tax cut.
Pataki and the NYS legislature passed a cap on gas tax which went into effect July 1st. The cap is set at $2.00/gallon.
Now Schmitt and his republican soldiers are proposing the same in Nassau.
"Minority Leader Peter J. Schmitt and members of the Republican Caucus to the Nassau County Legislature have filed a bill which would not only opt Nassau County into the elimination of State tax on gasoline passed over $2.00 a gallon, but also provides for Nassau County to eliminate its tax on gasoline over $2.00 a gallon.
Recent New York State legislation will cap the New York State Sales Tax on gasoline at $2.00 per gallon and Republican Legislators have introduced legislation to also cap County Sales Tax at $2.00 per gallon."

Sounds good right?
"Minority Leader Peter J. Schmitt stated, “We want to be ready to give much needed tax relief on the ever-increasing price of gasoline to our residents.”
“Legislation in Albany will soon be passed and we want Nassau County to be ready to not only join in eliminating the State Sales Tax over $2.00 a gallon but also the County tax on the same amount continued Schmitt.”
The higher price of gasoline has especially burdened Long Islanders who use their cars to commute to work. With the upcoming summer, residents are expected to vacation locally, and while good for the Long Island economy, they will be using their automobiles at a higher rate.
“If the Administrators of Nassau County would stop thinking about taxing our residents and proposing new tolls on our highways, they could begin to attempt to eliminate some of the taxes all our residents pay”, stated Legislator Schmitt."

Wow, a grand burden will be lifted from us taxpayers.
But Wait!
All is NOT what it seems.
While the proposed savings could be up to 8 cents per gallon, reality just happens to get in the way. Gas prices are still going up and the savings are lower than 3 cents per gallon if that at all.
But the the real problem is the cost - the REAL cost - to taxpayers.
It might make a nice sound-bite to motorists who are paying alot at the pump but a few pennies saved won't compare to the loss the state and the county will incur.
On the state level, Nassau is looking for more school aid which would bring down school taxes which are the bulk of our taxes. With this cap, the state will lose $450 million this year.
Wouldn't it be better to apply this $450million to alleviate school or property taxes instead of literally nickel and dimeing taxpayers with such a miniscule "tax cut" that will come to a few dollars over the year?
And where will the state make up this loss?
What gets cut next year and what gets increased?
Now Schmitt and company want to cap the Nassau portion of the tax.
We all know that the county, because of Schmitt and the Gulotta republicans, sank to near bankruptcy. Schmitt says “We want to be ready to give much needed tax relief on the ever-increasing price of gasoline to our residents.”
It's not the taxes but the actual cost of the gas that is hurting consumers. And by capping the Nassau portion of the tax, Schmitt will make the fiscal situation in Nassau worse.
Other counties in NYS are already seeing the problem with the cap "In Albany County, as Comptroller Michael Conners is prudent enough to point out, the loss of revenue is likely to be $2.7 million a year for the county itself, and $1.8 million a year in money the county shares with cities, towns and villages.

In Broome County "when (County Executive) Fiala found out the cap would cost the county about $2.3 million annually with current prices, she modified the proposed gas tax cap to $3 per gallon. That would help taxpayers if costs continue to rise at the pumps, although it currently affects only higher grades of gas.
Any county losses would have been made up by increasing property taxes, Fiala said.
"We didn't want to give with one hand now and take from the other later," she said."

Republican mayor Bloomberg in NYC said the city could lose up to $50million. From the Gothamist "Fifty million dollars a year is probably a thousand cops, close to a thousand cops, close to a thousand teachers," he said. "If we don't have the money, we can't have these things. What do we want to do without?
Reducing taxes when you're trying to end energy dependence on foreign cartels is not exactly a terribly smart policy
The long-term solution in this country, which nobody wants to hear, is to use an awful lot less energy and to get away from fossil fuels, particularly oil, that mostly comes from overseas."

What will Nassau lose?
How much revenue that could go to funding youth programs, hire more police or keep property taxes stable will disappear for a cheap stunt pseudo-tax cut?
Wouldn't it be better to use the gas tax revenue to continue to revive the county?

And wouldn't it have been smarter for our state legislators to properly fund our schools instead of trumpeting a "tax cut" that will hurt us in the long run?