Our utility bills are out of control. I receive calls every day from residents who say their bills have doubled or even tripled over the last several months when compared with last year. Currently, …
Our utility bills are out of control. I receive calls every day from residents who say their bills have doubled or even tripled over the last several months when compared with last year. Currently, 161,393 accounts in the Hudson Valley are in arrears on their utility bills by a whopping total of $106,250,283.
It is long past time that something is done about this crisis, so I have introduced a package of utility relief bills, four in total, that will help all my constituents—and those across the state—who are struggling.
Twenty-five percent of your utility bill is made up of New York State taxes and fees. My first bill would place a moratorium on the collection of any of these taxes until April 1, 2023.
The second bill would create a utility tax credit for the next two years. The calculation of the credit is simple. You look at your bill on a monthly basis and compare it to the three-year average bill for that month for the previous three years. Add up the difference in those bills from each month and take that amount as a credit against your taxes.
Next, we need to make some systemic reforms. That’s what the other two bills in my package will accomplish. These proposals would eliminate the ability of the unelected State Public Service Commission to raise any current energy fees or create any new ones.
In addition, my legislation would permanently eliminate these taxes for any New Yorker who is over 65 or who qualifies for assistance under the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).
Heating your home or business is not a luxury—it is a necessity. The taxes and fees New York State has imposed on your bill are regressive and hurt the middle class, working families and the elderly most of all. As state officials, we cannot stand idly by during this crisis. We must act and act decisively. We should not waste time grandstanding or blaming the war in Ukraine for this problem. Prices were rising rapidly even before the invasion took place. High energy prices are not a result of foreign conflict; they are the result of bad domestic policy positions. Most of these issues cannot be solved in just one state, but we can surely control taxes and fees that New York State has placed on its own citizens.
I will be pushing this important package between now and the end of the legislative session, and I am hopeful that we can gain bipartisan support to get it done.
Senator Mike Martucci represents New York’s 42nd State Senate district, which comprises all of Sullivan County and parts of Orange, Ulster and Delaware counties.
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