Is a Gas Tax Cut Coming Soon to Dutchess County?
As Benjamin Franklin once said, nothing is certain but death and taxes. I'm paraphrasing, but a new measure prosed by Dutchess County government may be attempting to prove the founding father wrong.
Gas Prices on the Rise
Unless you've been living under a rock with a blindfold on and earplugs, you've noticed a dramatic recent spike in gas prices. Currently at an average of $4.35-per-gallon, regular gasoline in New York is over $1.30-per-gallon higher than it was at this time last year. While the prices have dropped a bit recently, it was only a few weeks ago when I spotted my local gas station in Newburgh charging upwards of $4.45 a gallon. According to Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver, there may be a local answer.
What's the Plan in Poughkeepsie NY?
According to state laws, local counties can choose to tax gas in one of two ways; by either taxing the total amount of fuel a customer uses in a fill-up (currently 3.75%), or charging a certain number of cents-per-gallon. At the moment, Dutchess County uses the tax percent method. Malinaro's plan would alter the process into a totally different option.
The idea combines both the tax percentage and cents-per-gallon charge, which Molinaro says will result in lower prices for consumers.
The County would implement a cents-per-gallon methodology, rather than a percentage of a climbing price, with county sales tax charged only on the first $2 of the per-gallon gasoline price, or a total of $.08 per gallon.
Put simply, the proposal keeps the tax, but caps the taxable amount. An example given in Molinaro's press release shows that under current regulations, gas priced at $4.25 includes roughly 16 cents in taxes per-gallon, whereas if only the first $2.00 were taxed, the amount would be lowered to 8 cents per-gallon. If the resolution passes, no matter the price of gas, the 8 cent charge per-gallon would never rise.
Will It Help?
While the Hudson Valley would welcome lower prices with open arms, it's yet to be seen if such a tax cap would be effective. Some claim that no matter the government action, oil companies or gas stations could just raise prices higher and pocket the profits while the customer is stuck paying the same per-gallon rate as before.
Still seeking cheaper fuel? Check out the best prices in Poughkeepsie and Newburgh below.