ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced Monday the county will submit legislation aimed at capping taxes on gasoline to help residents save money at the pump.

Standing alongside elected officials from both sides of the aisle, Bello said the bipartisan proposal will be submitted to cap the county’s gas tax at the lowest level allowed by New York state law.

“It is clear that our residents are struggling and paying more for everyday things,” Bello said. “Inflation impacts everyone in the country and in our county. I don’t want people to have to choose between food, child care, or a full tank of gas.”

Bello says county leaders are aiming to have the gasoline tax cap take effect on June 1. County leaders say the policy would remain in effect through the end of the year.

According to the county executive, the law would mean the county will tax gas as if it costs $2 per gallon at the pump, effectively saving $0.08 per gallon if gas costs $4 per gallon. The impact on the tax cap means more savings if gas prices continue to increase, or fewer savings if gas prices begin to fall, but local officials say the effort will provide relief for all Monroe County residents.

“This is how our government is supposed to work,” said Monroe County Legislature President Sabrina LaMar. “By working together to help all of our residents.”

“It is our hope that capping our share of the gas tax will help,” said Monroe County Legislature Minority Leader Steve Brew.”

The county executive said the county’s gas tax cap will not replace New York’s plans to do so at the state level, effective June 1, but in conjunction with the state cap for more savings at the pump for residents. According to county officials, both the county and state gas tax cap could save taxpayers around $5 per quarter through the end of the year.

According to Bello, the tax cap proposal won’t hinder county finances, as sales tax revenues are outperforming previous projections this year.

“It’s really a reduction in the amount of anticipated future sales tax that we’re collecting, and certainly nobody anticipated gas being $4 or $5 per gallon when putting the budget together,” Bello said. “So right now, our sales tax countywide is running well above what we have projected for parts of the year because of these inflationary measures.”

“The average driver is only going to save about $4.00 a month,” County Legislator Rachel Barnhart countered. “So, for $10 million I think we can do more to help people truly in need.”  

Barnhart of Rochester is among those who oppose this bill. Arguing taxpayers lose more than they’ll save, and that millions in public funds can go elsewhere to benefit people in need. 

“We could send a one-time check of $150 to all households in Monroe County making 150% of the poverty level or less,” Barnhart explained. “That’s the kind of thing you can do with $10 million.”  

I would also point out that a gas tax holiday does nothing for people who don’t own cars. 

Full press conference

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