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Senate GOP wants utility fee out of Cuomo’s budget

Posted By Jon Campbell On February 5, 2013 @ 2:46 pm In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said Tuesday he considers a proposed extension of a surcharge on utilities to be a new tax, while his conference called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take it out of his $136 billion budget plan.

[1]Senate Republicans held a news conference at the Capitol to knock the extension, which they said imposes an unnecessary burden on power utilities and businesses.

“Allowing this tax surcharge to expire will make New York more economically competitive, reduce costs on businesses, help expand our economy and create new private-sector jobs,” Skelos told reporters.

The 18-a assessment surcharge, as it’s known, was passed in 2009 to help fund the state Public Service Commission and plug budget holes. It is due to expire in March 2014, but Cuomo proposed extending it for an additional five years.

The extension would create an estimated $509 million in annual revenue for the state.

Skelos, R-Nassau County, said he does believe the 18-a extension would be a new tax. Cuomo’s office disagrees and has maintained that the governor’s spending plan does not include new taxes.

Senate Energy Committee Chairman George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Niagara County, said the assessment fee is the “worst” of the taxes and fees that hit utility companies and ratepayers.

“This tax hits every single business and residence in our state,” he said.


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