Local politicians oppose potential legislation
CORNING--Members of the Senate and Assembly Republican conferences held a listening session with stakeholders across various industries Monday, Nov. 15. The discussion surrounded the potential impacts of the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA), a proposal currently being advanced in Albany that has the potential to increase the costs of using fossil fuels. In a media release, the politicians said the measure could raise the cost of gas by as much as 55 cents per gallon and increase home heating costs by more than 25 percent. The event was the fourth such listening session, following other forums in Albany, Buffalo, and Long Island.
The legislation (S.4264/A.6967), which is currently in committee, is sponsored in the Senate by Kevin S. Parker (D,WF-21) and has the support of 28 co-sponsors.
The listed summary of the bill says it, "Enacts the climate and community investment act; prioritizes the allocation of public investments in disadvantaged communities; addresses climate change challenges through the expansion and growth of clean and renewable energy sources; adopts best value requirements for the solicitation, evaluation and award of renewable energy projects; establishes a community just transition program; establishes a climate pollution fee and a household and small business energy rebate; and creates the climate and community investment authority."
Opponents say the law would impose a carbon tax of $55 per ton of fossil fuel emissions in order to reach renewable energy mandates under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), passed by the Legislature in 2019.
The Monday session was led by Senator Tom O'Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning). Discussions revolved around the potential impacts on small businesses, farms and various sectors of the energy industry. The session provided an opportunity for lawmakers to listen to testimony directly from stakeholders.
O'Mara said, "New Yorkers already pay one of America's highest gas taxes and home heating costs are expected to skyrocket this winter...The ongoing implementation of these regressive taxes would leave lower- and middle-income families and workers, motorists, truckers, manufacturers and industries and seniors among the hardest hit."
Other legislators participating in the forum were: Senator George Borrello (R,C,IP,LIBT-57), Assembly Joseph Angelino (R,C,I-Norwich), Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R,C-Caledonia), Assemblyman Chris Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats), and Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C,I,SAM-Johnstown).
Palmesano added, "The CCIA clearly demonstrates two things. One, that the Senate and Assembly Majorities are clearly trying to get out in front of the job the Climate Action Council (CAC) is tasked with doing relative to their scoping plans for implementing the CLCPA and two, that they are completely out of touch with the financial needs and concerns facing families and businesses in our state."
According to the Tax Foundation, New York currently has the seventh-highest gas tax in the country, at 43.12 cents per gallon, with California currently the highest at 62.47 cents per gallon. This legislation could raise New York's tax to 98.12 cents per gallon according to opponents, an increase of more than 127 percent, and would make New York's gas tax more than 57 percent higher than any other state.