Let me clarify, first, that I consider myself to be an environmentalist who believes the planet is threatened by global warming. I can go further into many aspects of this issue in order to prove that I am an environmentalist. But I will forego such discussion right now.
Recently, the New York governor and legislature put in place legislation to temporarily cease collection of the New York gasoline tax. I use the word, TEMPORARY, because this is the important aspect of it. So far, I have heard no words about making this permanent. In fact, I am against any retail sales taxes. Period. I am against sales tax because I observed that, when such taxes were begun in New York under Nelson Rockefeller, small business people were ignored when they pointed out that they were being forced to pay a tax in which they had to cover their asses by hiring accountants and lawyers. It cut into their profit margins. Profit is an ok thing. Love of money is not. We have conformed, now, to the idea that love of money is not corrupt but a normal part of life. I also might add that I have always been against the idiotic idea of a regressive income tax and that we should have a simpler tax which does not require hiring so many accountants and lawyers, imposed at the “producer” level (the Producer Price Index (PPI) level or wholesale, not at the Consumer Price Index (CPI) level. I guess I need to clarify this bit of bias, too. The tax at the PPI level is called a Value-added Tax, or VAT. The wealthy island nation of Morocco has a VAT and property taxes, no income tax. Thus, I have clarified my position on all of this, with regard to a temporary no-gasoline-tax legislation.
I believe that there are environmentalists who push the envelope too far. Yes, we do not want our water supply inundated with chemicals resulting from fracking. To be sure. Yes, we do wish to wean New York and this nation of fossil fuel consumption which pollutes the atmosphere. There is no doubt about this, in my mind. But to speak out against a temporary stop to collection of gasoline taxes, just because it could reduce the price of gasoline and cause consumers to purchase more gasoline, is absurd. The reasons for me saying this are because such talk against doing a temporary tax reduction does not take into account various aspects of this issue.
1. IT IS TEMPORARY. Read my lips. IT IS TEMPORARY. I would be against doing this permanently, unless it was taken up with a package to rid the state of ALL sales taxes and the income tax and replace it with the VAT.
2. There are consumers who are suffering, due to the situation today. A war and the remnants of a pandemic (which seems to be as strong as the Everready bunny as it keeps on going). Such a tax could help consumers in a bad situation to kind of get back on their feet once again. The environmentalists sound as bad as Republicans and their efforts to curtail getting the economy going again. It is a smart and wise decision.
3. Among the consumers who are suffering, where do they purchase electric or hybrid vehicles and how much must they spend on them? Can they afford such vehicles? No. At the end of the day, too many of these consumers are caught between a rock and a hard place. If the environmentalists want to do their duty and protect the environment, I would suggest stop putting down this temporary elimination of a gas tax and work to raise money to help consumers invest in non-gasoline fuels and vehicles. There is a stock market in which they can utilize brokers like Robin Hood brokers and other sources to put money where there is more development of such non-gasoline and less-polluting endeavors.
4. The TEMPORARY nature of this legislation also helps consumers take a small respite in higher prices so as to gear up for the possibility of purchasing an electric, hybrid, or other non-gasoline vehicle when the elimination of the tax is reversed in January 2023. In other words, there is time for auto manufacturers to gear up for this, consumers can invest in the development of such companies, and we can find an alternative on the LONG-TERM horizon which can benefit the environment.
My dad once ran a pickup truck with a switch. When he did not wish to use gasoline, the switch gave him a chance to use the propane gas which was aboard his truck. Is it not true that propane gas is less polluting? That’s a good question. Those were the days when gasoline prices were very low.
Of course, we need to take into consideration that there were predictions this past year that propane would also rise in price by some 43%. I am just throwing the solution out there in the air.
In contrast, the predictions said electric prices would rise only about 6%. All predictions for which I don’t know the answers. But before environmentalists go speaking out against the temporary injunction against a gasoline tax, perhaps they need to check out the statistics and facts first. But try to purchase an electric or hybrid car today. I have heard of the lack of supply and that sends prices high on such vehicles. Apparently gasoline cars are a somewhat cheaper alternative. Perhaps there should also be a cancellation of the sales tax on electric and hybrid vehicles?
All in all, I support Governor Hochul and the legislature in taking the steps mentioned here: a temporary elimination of gasoline taxes.