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gas tax

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, second from right, joined Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, back row, to announce a cap on the county’s gas tax starting June 1. Screen capture from County Executive Steve Bellone’s Facebook page

Elected officials from Suffolk and Nassau counties joined forces to alleviate the sales tax burden on residents when they’re at the gas pump.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) met with Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman (R), Suffolk Legislature Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst) and other local county officials at a press conference in Hauppauge on Tuesday after both the Suffolk and Nassau legislatures unanimously adopted emergency laws.

The resolutions in both counties allow for a partial suspension of the sales tax on gasoline, cutting the tax on any amount over $3 per gallon. The law will take effect June 1 and end on Dec. 31. Nassau legislators adopted the bill Monday night, and Suffolk legislators followed suit Tuesday morning.

McCaffrey said it was done at “lightning speed” as Suffolk officials worked closely with Blakeman. “This is a regional problem,” McCaffrey said. “It doesn’t change when you cross over the county line.”

Bellone said that residents have been feeling the effects of rising prices, especially at the gas pump. He said regular gas was under $3 a year ago and now is more than $4.

He thanked the NYS Legislature and Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) for acting at the state level. The recent state budget includes a reduction of roughly half of the state’s gas tax from June 1 to Dec. 31.

“This is not going to solve everyone’s problem, but it will put a little money back in people’s pockets,” Bellone said. “It will give people a sense — and this is important as well — that the government is taking action.”

In a statement, Suffolk Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) said she was familiar with many families’ struggles due to rising gas prices.

“While another round of high gas prices just further underlines the need to get off fossil fuels and continue our transition to electric vehicles, a sales tax is an incredibly regressive tax,” Hahn said. “It affects the poor far more than those who are not poor. I know what it’s like to struggle, to rely on waitressing tips to feed my young daughter, to have a $20-a-week increase in gas prices blow a hole in my family’s budget. I’ve been there when I was a single mom. This temporary tax rollback is meant to help those families who are struggling today.”