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GOP pols want Cuomo to halt gas tax amid Colonial Pipeline debacle

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ALBANY — Top Republican leaders are asking Gov. Cuomo to temporarily suspend the state’s gas tax after pump prices surged following the Colonial Pipeline’s nearly week-long shutdown.

“National gas prices have already risen six cents since the ransomware attack and threaten to further increase with potential supply shortages,” wrote state Senate Minority leader Rob Ortt (R-Lockport) and Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) in a letter to Cuomo on Wednesday.

Colonial announced they are resuming operations in a statement Wednesday evening, but added it will take “several days” before normal product delivery schedules will resume.

“Gas prices in New York have now gone over three dollars a gallon — the first time in over six years that prices have reached this level. State and local sales tax add approximately twenty cents per gallon in New York — among the nation’s highest,” they added.

The company suffered a crippling cyberattack last Friday that froze the company’s technological systems and triggered panic buying across some Southern states over the last few days.

Andrew Lanza
State Sen. Andrew Lanza co-wrote a letter noting gas prices are the highest they’ve been in over six years.
AP

It prompted the governor of Georgia to suspend its own state tax on gas for the time being.

While the politicians welcome news of the reopening, sources said they still think the state should provide economic relief to New Yorkers already hit hard by the pandemic.

“The pandemic has already placed serious pressure on our economy. Gas prices play a major role in our economy in terms of the transportation of goods, bolstering tourism, or helping the people of New York get back to work. Keeping our gas prices under control will undoubtedly assist with our ongoing economic recovery,” they continued.

Robert Ortt
State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt wrote that gas prices could increase even more due to supply shortages.
Hans Pennink

Cuomo’s office said in a statement they are actively talking to the Biden administration, but the shortage hasn’t negatively impacted the Empire State.

“At this time, State regulators and authorities are closely monitoring distribution and pricing in New York and have received no indication of supply challenges or price impacts to New Yorkers as a result of the shutdown, nor have we seen price spikes affecting New Yorkers,” said Haley Viccaro

“While one of the Colonial Pipeline’s major supply lines has resumed service, New York continues to receive fuel from sea and truck deliveries. The State will continue to work closely with our federal and state partners, as well as fuel distributors, to monitor the issue and safeguard the supply chain for all New Yorkers.”

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Janice Hill

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