Business group: State bill would send fuel costs skyrocketing

By John Whittaker The Post Journal

Legislation backed by 23 members of the state Senate could result in a 26% increase in natural gas heating costs and a 55 cent-a-gallon increase in gasoline taxes, according to a business lobby group.

The Climate And Community Investment Act (S.4264A) was introduced in early February by state Sen. Kevin Parker, D-Brooklyn, and assigned to the Senate’s Environmental Conservation Committee on March 22. The bill would impose a carbon tax of $55 per ton of fossil fuel emissions from all sources, including schools, factories and on the use of gasoline.

More details about the proposal came out during a Senate public hearing held Tuesday, including a Business Council of New York State analysis showing the impact on the natural gas industry and gasoline.

Kenneth Pokalsky, vice president of the business council, tied his group’s analysis to a $15 billion estimate of taxes and fees raised by the Climate and Community Investment Act. The council estimates natural gas would account for $4.2 billion of the $15 billion in fees, with natural gas costs projected to increase 26% based on historical natural gas use trends. Gasoline taxes would have to increase 55 cents a gallon to meet residential transportation segment goals in the legislation.

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