Will northern counties join the state’s gas tax exemption?

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) — You can start saving on gas in June when the state removes part of its gallon tax. Could local counties follow?

The state will suspend some of its gasoline taxes from June 1 through the end of the year. This should save consumers 16 cents per gallon.

Local authorities hope that these savings will arrive at the pumps.

“Similar measures have been implemented locally in terms of sales tax savings, but that hasn’t necessarily translated to the pumps. We want to make sure that there are necessary checks and balances in place, that if there is a sales tax reduction, that local consumers will benefit from that reduction,” said Bob Hagemann, County Administrator of Jefferson.

Will counties in the north of the country suspend their 4% share of the gas tax? Jefferson County Legislative Chairman Bill Johnson said no dialogue has yet taken place between Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, but this could be the catalyst to start a conversation.

District 13 Legislator Scott Gray said the conversation was needed.

“I think we need to look beyond the impact on our sales tax collections and say it’s for the greater good both for the consumer and for our region, and it will help us in d other areas, certainly our tourism economy,” he said.

Lewis County Executive Ryan Piché said he had not spoken to Administrator Hagemann or Ruth Doyle of St. Lawrence County, but would answer the phone if it rang.

Even though prices have fallen across the north of the country, frustrations at the pumps remain high.

“The gas pump started at 14 cents without even pushing a button, so I’m very frustrated for a lot of people,” Edward Pillas said.

The current average price of a gallon of gasoline in the North Country is $4.29, with the highest occurring on March 10 when the cost of a gallon hit $4.43.

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