Jefferson County’s gas tax cap coming back

Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 4:05 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - You’ll have to wait four months, but Jefferson County will stop collecting tax on gasoline once it reaches a certain price.

Jefferson County Legislator Anthony Doldo sits at a table in his business sifting through pages and pages of paperwork.

“A lot of it is more paperwork, being a business owner. You’re submitting the paperwork for the state and waiting for them to refund,” he said.

It’s the result of last year’s county gas tax cap when the county only taxed the first $3 of a gallon of gas. That ended on December 1.

However, it’ll come back later this year.

The county board voted on Tuesday that starting on June 1, the county’s 4 percent gas tax will only be collected on the first $3 on a gallon of gas. Anything over that is county-tax free

Doldo says it offers little savings at the pump, but requires a mound of paperwork for those who sell gas.

“In actuality for what they’re putting in their tanks, some might save 5 cents, some might save 10 cents,” he said.

Legislator Jeremiah Maxon did some calculations and says the cap won’t make much of a difference in balancing the county budget.

“We can make our budget balance at $3 a gallon. We can save our constituents an unknown amount of money. Perhaps we can save them zero dollars if gas prices drop below $3. Perhaps we can save them quite a bit of money if gas prices go up,” he said.

Legislator John Peck says those calculations, and those from Chairman Bill Johnson, are what convinced him the cap wouldn’t cause tremendous harm to the budget. But he still has his criticisms.

“You have electric vehicles that pay nothing. The state wants to continue to push towards the obliteration of internal combustion motors. What’s your offsetting revenue,” he said.

During discussion... Legislator Patrick Jareo wanted to see a $2 gas cap, but there wasn’t support. Some thought it would throw off the county budget.

The $3 gas tax cap will run from June 1 to December 1.