Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday confirmed top officials in New York are considering ways of providing some sort of relief at the gas pump for drivers in the state budget plan.
The budget talks have centered around a potential suspension of state taxes on per-gallon gasoline sales until the end of the year.
"It's on the table. We're having those conversations," Hochul told reporters. "Again, the timing of the budget is perfect to address this."
The budget is being negotiated amid deepening concerns for New Yorkers about the state of the economy and their personal finances. A Siena College poll this week found many New York residents are considering pulling back on spending this year as a result of spiking gasoline prices and inflation.
Gas in many parts of New York remains about $4 a gallon. New York is projected to collect $2 billion in gas tax revenue this fiscal year. The money is used for road and bridge maintenance as well as mass transit. A coalition of environmental organizations and transit groups have urged a rejection of a sales tax suspension.
Hochul had previously not embraced a gas tax suspension, questioning whether consumers would fully benefit from the move. New Yorkers pay about 47 cents to 48 cents per gallon of gas in total taxes.
Multiple states have moved to suspend gas taxes in recent weeks or create a rebate program to offset the cost.
But inflation concerns could very well become a campaign issue for voters heading into the fall if prices remain high.
"We are very sensitive to this especially since the vast majority of our state does not have public transportation options available to them," Hochul said. "The costs keep going up and up and it's hard. It's something we're very senstive to and we'll continue talking about in the budget context."