Earlier this week the Senate GOP held a press conference to urge Governor Cuomo not to extend the 18-a utility tax surcharge as proposed in his executive budget.  The surcharge is currently set to expire in March 2014.  The governor has proposed extending the surcharge for another five years.

The surcharge is not listed as a new tax, which can lead to some confusion, and means many New York residents do not understand the impact the charge can have on them.  While the impact is much greater on our state’s small businesses, everyone is affected.

Let us be clear on what the 18-a energy assessment is.  18-a, was implemented in 2009 as a charge on the operating revenue of New York State gas, electric, steam and water corporations. Basically it is an extra charge on the energy used across the state.  Since the corporations have to pay more, that means consumers have to pay more.

Unshackle Upstate has called for a repeal of the 18-a assessment since it was first enacted.  Its repeal is again listed as part of our policy agenda for 2013.

New York already has the third highest energy costs in the nation.  This extra charge, if allowed to continue for another five years, would cost businesses and taxpayers nearly $3 billion.  Everyone can understand the need to balance the state budget, but this will do nothing to create new jobs or spur economic growth, which is greatly needed in the Upstate region.  Just something to think about.