Yates’ gas tax change could lower rates


Posted May 10, 2022

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Yates’ gas tax change could lower rates

YATES COUNTY — In a move that can help local and tourist wallets, the Yates County Legislature voted Monday, May 9, to change the way taxes are calculated on gasoline sales. This is an effort to reduce the price at the pump, as historically high prices are seen in the Finger Lakes and across the country. The Legislature chose to levy a sales rate in cents per gallon instead of a percentage rate for these taxes.
“It only extends to January of next year…the sales tax impact on gasoline is 5% of what we get,” said lawmaker Douglas Paddock. “(Under the new rate) we will still get about half that.”
Even without the recent explosion in gas prices due to global conflicts and inflation, Paddock said gas prices at Yates, particularly Penn Yan, were still high as they are.
“I never spoke to anyone who thought the gas prices at Penn Yan were appropriate,” Paddock said. “It will help people passing by and our residents.”
It was also mentioned that the resolution could also bring some financial relief to farmers who have to stock up on old tractors and other farm equipment. However, it was clarified that agricultural equipment using off-road diesel is already not taxed, but many farms also use fuel from general gas stations which are subject to tax.
Although the resolution reduces the amount of money the county will be able to collect, lawmakers have discussed the fact that gas stations will not be required to pass the savings on to consumers and may instead choose to pocket them.
“One thing that concerns me is whether or not our gas stations will reduce fuel costs,” said Legislative Speaker Leslie Church. “Will be [it] show up at the pumps?”
Lawmakers responded that the way to combat this possibility would be to inform consumers through the press that the rate cut has taken place and that the intention is that any savings will be passed on to them and not to the gas station owners. .
Terry Button was the only one to vote against the resolution and his reasoning behind the no was a combination of long and short term concerns.
“My concern is that the cost of the product is the cost of the product, and we never know exactly what the fine print is,” Button said. “When you join a program they can be a game changer and I worry about the future (about the tax) so I’m going to vote against it.”
The legislature also voted to schedule a public hearing regarding extending video conferencing for public meetings to June 13.
“I just think it’s a great idea because we can bring our audience more into our meetings, making them more available,” said lawmaker Carlie Chilson. “There are many who cannot make it to the meetings during the day.”