Last Thursday a bipartisan coalition, led by State Sen. Michelle Hinchey and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, announced temporary cuts of 16 cents per gallon through the state while Ryan and the Legislature added an additional cut of 5 cents per gallon, bringing motorists a total savings of 21 cents per gallon that will take effect on June 1 and run through December 1.
At a press conference last Thursday at the Highland Chestnut Mobil Gas Station on Route 9W, Sen. Hinchey pointed out that, “Soaring gas prices and record inflation are taking money out of working families’ wallets at a time when people can’t afford yet another financial burden. We need to do everything possible to cut costs for everyday New Yorkers and I’m proud to have championed and delivered a gas tax suspension that gives our community members needed relief at the pump. No one should be breaking their bank to pay for their basic necessities and I will continue to fight for measures that make life more affordable for upstate New Yorkers.”
County Executive Ryan thanked Hinchey for her efforts at the state level and Ulster County Legislators. “for coming together in a bi-partisan manner and I want to let residents know that we will continue to work urgently and aggressively towards solutions to help ease the pressure on our community during these unprecedented times.”
Lloyd Police Chief James Janso welcomes this relief on the cost of fuel.
“As the Town of Lloyd Police Chief, a resident of Ulster County and a Town of Lloyd resident and taxpayer, this savings in the reduction of gas prices will be a much needed and welcome relief with the rising gas prices, not only for my family but for members of the police department and their families who reside in the in the Town of Lloyd and Ulster County,” he said.
United Health Care worked Gabriel Valles said the rising cost of gas has forced some of his workers to miss work.
“On any given day one or more of my co-workers say they can’t come to work because they don’t have the gas money and have to wait for pay day. Think about that. The first spend in the pay check goes to gas and there is still food and rent. Thank you Senator Hinchey for once again championing the needs of essential workers,” he said.
Legislator Kevin Roberts said, “I believe we should do whatever we can to assist our residents during these turbulent economic times. I am also grateful for the support of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the County Executive for his support in this effort.”
Legislator Herb Litts III welcomed everyone to the Town of Lloyd that his family has proudly called home for hundreds of years.
Litts singled out fellow Legislators Kevin Roberts and Ken Ronk for proposing this idea that will help all residents of Ulster County. He said there was some push back as this issue was debated on the floor of the Legislature, with some claiming that 21 cents would not make a real difference, however, the resolution passed by a vote of 14-9. Litts pointed out that independent truckers, who usually have twin gas tanks, will realize significant savings with this relief in place, which in turn will result in lower prices for consumers.
In subsequent interviews, Litts and fellow Legislator Tom Corcoran said this is a great day for the county.
Corcoran said calling this a minimal amount of money, “is ridiculous because every little bit we can put back is money in their pockets.
Everything runs on gasoline or diesel and that money they will save on the tax will trickle down and the gas [station] owners have promised us that they will pass this on to the residents of the county.”
Come December Litts is hoping, “that this all starts to turn around and gas prices will just start to reduce on its own by itself.” Corcoran agreed, believing this break at the pump will help county residents going into 2023.
“This is an effort on our part to bridge it to that point where it will get there on its own,” he said.
Sen. Hinchey stressed that, “It is really important that this message gets out to regular people across our county and across our state that these savings are coming.” She broke out the states 16 cents contribution, with half coming from the Motor Fuel Tax and the other half from the Sales tax and the county’s 5 cents brings the total in savings to 21cents per gallon.
Legislator Gina Hansut said her Republican caucus began discussing this proposal on March 22.
“It came up and we were totally on board, all of us,” she recalled. “We were so excited and we brought it forward from there.” She said this is a sign of good faith on the part of New York State and the Ulster County Legislature, “and will show the people that we are listening and that we want to help; we hear them.”