Updated 04/11/2012 06:29 PM
Broome legislator wants to cap sales tax on gas
The price of gas continues to rise above four dollars a gallon. That's why one Broome County legislator is leading an effort to cap the local sales tax on gas. But as our Melissa Kakareka explains, some county officials question whether the proposal will work.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- It's becoming harder and harder for people to afford the cost of gas. But one Broome County legislator is working on a plan that may be able to help.
"If your gas is over four dollars a gallon in Broome County, we aren't going to charge you any additional taxes over four dollars a gallon," said Broome County Legislator Jason Garnar.
Jason Garnar is proposing a resolution that would cap the local sales tax on gas for anything over four dollars a gallon. The legislator believes his proposal would save people at least five cents a gallon at the pump.
"I think people are looking for any type of money to be saved. We have to be looking at saving any amount of money we can for our constituents," said Garnar.
But other local leaders say they already explored the possibility back in 2011 when Garnar submitted a similar resolution and found that a cap would not lower the cost of gas.
"Based on the information we've had in the past, and we're starting to look at some information again as the fuel prices go up, but I do not believe that it's going to affect the price at the pumps," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.
County officials say there's also the issue of where the county will make up the revenue that comes from the tax. They say the county's own fuel prices have gone up and sales tax revenue is an important way to keep the budget balanced.
"As elected officials we have a fiscal responsibility to make sure that the county has funds. If we have no sales tax revenue, we only have property taxes and we know people don't want property taxes to go up," said Broome County Legislature Chairman Jerry Marinich.
Still, Garnar believes that if his resolution passes, it will benefit people in Broome County and give them at least a little bit of relief when they fill up their tank.
"I've got a lot of my constituents who are working class people making ten to eleven dollars an hour. It's very hard for them to fill up their tank at $4.35 or $4.50, so anything we can do at any level of government level can help," said Garnar.
The County's Administration Committee will vote on the proposal next Thursday.
Three of the five legislators on the committee would have to approve the legislation in order for it to go before the full legislature for discussion.