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Will north country counties join state’s gas tax holiday?

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 5:49 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - You can start saving on gas this June when the state drops some of its tax on a gallon. Could local counties follow?

The state will suspend some of its gas taxes from June 1 through the end of the year. It should save consumers 16 cents a gallon.

Local officials are hoping those savings will make it to the pump.

“Similar steps were implemented at the local level in terms of savings on sales tax, but it didn’t necessarily translate at the pump. We want to make sure that there are necessary checks and balances in place, that if there is going to be a reduction in the sales tax, that local consumers will benefit from that reduction,” said Jefferson County Administrator Bob Hagemann.

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

District 13 Legislator Scott Gray said the conversation is much needed.

“I think we have to look beyond what the impact is going to be 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 other areas, certainly our tourism economy,” he said.

Lewis County Manager Ryan Piche said he has not spoken to either administrator Hagemann or Ruth Doyle of St. Lawrence County, but would answer the phone if it rang.

Even as prices have dropped across the north country, frustrations at the pump remain high.

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

The current average price of a gallon of gas in the north country is $4.29, with the high occurring on March 10 when the cost of a gallon topped out at $4.43.

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