As negotiations between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers continued, business leaders from across the state and members of the Assembly Republicans renewed their call today for eliminating the “18-a energy tax” from the 2013-14 budget. The Assembly Democratic Majority’s one-house budget resolution doesn’t remove the tax.
Senate Republicans are also asking for the surcharge to be removed and, the one-house budget proposed by the Senate GOP and Independent Democratic Conference, which jointly control the chamber, would do that. The new fiscal year starts April 1.
The 18-a energy tax on New Yorkers’ electricity bills, also known as the temporary state assessment surcharge, funds the operations of energy-related agencies and authorities, according to a statement from the lawmakers and business groups. In 2009, then-Gov. David Paterson signed legislation that increased the fee from one-third of a percent to 2 percent. The fee was scheduled to be reduced this year, which would save consumers more than $200 million.
Extending the surcharge would cost consumers $236 million in 2013 and a total of $2.8 billion over the next six years.
“New York electric bills are heavily burdened by hidden taxes,” Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of the Business Council of New York State, said in a statement. “A report by the Public Policy Institute of New York found that one quarter out of every dollar paid on a New York State electric bill goes toward state and local taxes. For the state’s economy to improve, we must take steps to reduce energy taxes, not add or extend additional assessments that increase costs to businesses.”
Thirty chambers of commerce and business associations are against continuing the surcharge, including the Business Council of Westchester.
“Rising energy costs are one of the key burdens that businesses in New York State continue to face,” said John Ravitz, executive vice president of the Business Council of Westchester. “I urge all of the members of the Westchester delegation in the New York State Assembly to oppose the 18-a tax extension and not include it in this year’s budget. We need each of them to understand the negative ramifications this tax continues to have on businesses in their districts.”