Updated: April 29, 2021 06:44 PM
Created: April 27, 2021 05:28 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — New York Republican leaders are blasting a plan to more than double the state's gas tax, adding an extra 55 cents to the cost of every gallon.
In Albany Tuesday, they spoke out against the plan, calling it an attack on lower-income New Yorkers most of all.
The proposal is called the Climate and Community Investment Act.
It went before a hearing in the State Senate last week and it's sponsored by several Democrats including Rochester Senator Samra Brouk.
The act calls for a new tax of $55 for every ton of carbon dioxide emissions in an attempt to fight climate change.
That translates into a 127% increase in gasoline taxes, an increase of 55 cents a gallon, to 98 cents a gallon, the highest in the country.
It would also increase the cost of home heating oil and propane by 25%.
The money would go to green energy projects, community groups and to low-income New Yorkers.
It's also supposed to help communities hit by the loss of fossil fuel-related jobs.
"In the middle of a pandemic, we are talking about raising taxes on regular New Yorkers, millions of them," Sen Rob Ortt (R, 62) said. "Who take their cars to get to work $.55 a gallon, 26% to heat their homes."
Senators say the costs will have a ripple effect.
"When the gas price goes up, the cost of transportation to deliver your food goes up," Sen. Pam Helming (R, 54) said. "That's going to hit everyone in New York State. The cost of construction materials."
And one senator even believes it will drive people out of New York.
"People vote with their feet when they've had enough," Sen. Dan Stec (R, 45) said. "And when they can't afford to heat their homes, or they have to choose between heating their homes or feeding their kids, they're going to move to warmer climes."
News10NBC reached out to Brouk for comment on Tuesday. On Thursday, News10NBC received the following statement from Brouk:
"I am resolved to support environmental policies and initiatives that ensure the lasting protection of our planet and its natural resources. We know that the negative impacts of climate change are most likely to fall on vulnerable residents -- the working poor and people of color. People die every day due to the negative effects of climate change and pollution. More than three quarters of New York’s African American, Latino, and Asian American residents live in areas where pollution is higher than the state average.
My legislative work and positions are grounded firmly in the needs of my community -- and based on the feedback from constituents in the 55th district I am actively investigating how the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA) would impact working families. I am committed to working with the bill sponsor, constituents, and local leaders to ensure that no unnecessary burden is placed on hard working New Yorkers."
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