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March 9, 2000

Influential Assemblyman calls for repeal of energy GRT
Schimminger urges a two-year phase-out

A leading Assembly Democrat is calling for repeal the state's gross receipts tax (GRT) on energy.

Robin Schimminger (D-Erie County), chairman of the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry, today announced a bill that would phase out the tax over two years.

Governor Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno have already urged repeal of the energy GRT. Their proposals would phase out the tax over five years and three years, respectively.

"With New York businesses and families paying among the highest energy rates in the nation, it's critical that we reduce those costs in order to become competitive," Schimminger said.

"The high cost of energy is a key reason why upstate New York's economy continues to lag behind the national and downstate pace of job growth," he added.

Schimminger also said the gas import privilege tax should be phased out. His urged reducing the tax from its current rate, 4.25 percent, to 3.25 percent on July 1 and to 1.625 percent Jan. 1, 2000, before eliminating the tax completely effective in 2002.

He also proposed a fully refundable GRT credit, effective Jan. 1, 2000, for industrial and manufacturing businesses for the full amount of the GRT that is passed on to them in their energy bills.

"We applaud Assemblyman Schimminger for bringing his respected voice to the growing and bipartisan chorus urging repeal of the GRT," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh.

"His suggestion that lawmakers repeal this tax in two years is especially welcome, and strengthens the case for eliminating this anti-competitive tax as soon as possible," he added.