Nassau Democrats propose a suspension of gasoline tax; Abrahams raises concern on price gouging

by PDM STAFF

| Photo by Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons

MINEOLA, NY — Members of the Nassau County Legislature’s Minority Caucus, led by Minority Leader Kevan M. Abrahams, has proposed an emergency relief plan to temporarily suspend the County’s share of sales tax on gasoline.

Abrahams urged his colleagues in local government to support their proposal, which is designed to insulate Nassau residents from being forced to shoulder rapidly increasing costs driven by the war in Ukraine and sanctions that impact fuel costs in the short term.

Kevan M. Abrahams

“No Nassau County resident should be forced to choose between filling their gas tank and filling their prescriptions, but as fuel prices continue to climb, that is what far too many are confronted with,” Abrahams said. “Temporarily suspending Nassau’s gasoline sales taxes will go a long way toward protecting local families as our nation takes difficult but necessary steps in the pursuit of peace.”

He said this approach delivers meaningful relief to residents without jeopardizing Nassau’s fiscal health. According to a recent analysis, he said the reduction in sales tax revenue caused by suspending the County portion of gasoline taxes would have a minimal impact upon the County’s projected sales tax surplus for the fiscal year 2022.

“Not only do soaring gas prices especially hurt working families, seniors, and residents living on a fixed income, they jeopardize economic growth in a crucial recovery period for our region,” Abrahams said. “That is why it is so important to take immediate emergency action that puts money directly back into the hands of our residents when they need it the most.”

“Government has a responsibility to closely analyze every opportunity for minimizing as much pain at the pump as we possibly can,” Nassau County Legislator Siela A. Bynoe (D – Westbury) said. “Paired with a renewed focus on preventing price gouging, this proposal would provide timely assistance to consumers during a tremendously turbulent period.”

“I am fully in favor of America’s efforts to support the Ukrainian people and end this senseless, horrible war,” Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé (D – Freeport) said. “While some of the necessary steps that we have taken will require sacrifice from the American people, this initiative will reduce the pain at the pump for consumers at a critical time. I am hopeful that my colleagues will join with us in advocating for this common-sense approach.”

In a letter to Nassau County Executive Bruce A. Blakeman, Abrahams also raised residents’ concerns regarding potential price gouging and proactive steps which Nassau County can take to prevent and prosecute consumer exploration.

“Unfortunately, we know there are unscrupulous actors who would seek to exploit this volatile climate by engaging in illegal price-gouging in Nassau County – a sad state of affairs that New York State Attorney General Letitia James underscored while announcing the launch of a statewide probe into price gouging,” Abrahams wrote. “While this investigation is ongoing, the Department of Consumer Affairs is uniquely positioned to immediately protect Nassau consumers by swiftly ramping up investigatory and enforcement efforts focused upon high-demand sectors including but not limited to gasoline, home heating oil, and other essential goods.” — With Jay Domingo/PDM

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