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Would-be NY Governor Would Cap Gas Taxes

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is also campaigning for governor, said last week he is in favor of capping the state's portion of the taxes placed on gasoline. But he said more must be done to stop rising gas prices.

New York is one of the few states across the nation that charges a tax on gasoline. Drivers are slapped with a four-percent sales tax on their purchase at the pumps. There is a fight underway to eliminate the tax.

Some lawmakers in Albany want to place a cap on the gas tax for any amount above $2.00 per gallon. But now that gas prices have jumped above $3.00 per gallon, Sptizer said a cap would offer only small relief for consumers.

"The enormous jump we've seen is a consequence, in some cases, a few case, of gouging. We've brought 18 cases against retailers for gouging, and I think that's more than anybody else has brought," said Spitzer. "And it's also a result, and this is something we have to keep in mind, of a failed energy policy at a national level."

Spitzer said President Bush has "ignored" the issue of high gas prices. But Spitzer said there are some solutions that could help over the long term

"What we need to do is to begin to invest in alternative energy sources. There are clean alternatives...there are efficiency standards," said Spitzer.

Spitzer admits that immediate relief for consumers will be a tough one to solve.