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This week, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released its most updated data regarding inflation and spending trends in the U.S. The numbers aren’t just bad, they’re historically bad. The rate of inflation has hit a 40-year high. And the latest announcement came with no immediate solution from the state’s Legislative Majorities or Gov. Hochul to address this worsening problem.
Across the state and nation, people are reeling as inflation continues to climb. The consumer price index, which measures the cost of dozens of items used by Americans each day, was up a startling 7 percent. This is simply unsustainable.
Rising inflation, naturally, hits lower- and middle-income families the hardest. Those on a fixed income, like senior citizens, are especially vulnerable. For example, shelter costs, which represent close to one-third of all costs measured in the data, were up 4.1 percent last year. That pace marks the fastest spike in nearly 15 years.
The truth is, New York’s leadership has it well within its ability to provide help during this volatile economic period, but they seem unwilling to address it head-on or propose solutions. Even California’s governor has proposed suspending a scheduled gas-tax increase in an effort to keep prices under control. New York Democrats have failed to take action.
On the flip side, to combat rising costs, which our Conference has been actively working to mitigate for months, I recently introduced the “Inflation Relief & Consumer Assistance Plan.” The bill, A.8481, calls for a two-year suspension of state sales tax on many everyday purchases New Yorkers rely upon like prepared food, to-go orders and personal-care items.
Among the items this tax reprieve would impact is gasoline, which would decrease by 8 cents per gallon under our proposed cuts. Further, cleaning products, like laundry detergent and disinfectants, and personal-care items, like shampoo and soap, would cost 4 percent less under our plan. All in all, the additional costs associated with this historic inflation are costing New York’s families hundreds of dollars each month. That money, at a time when economic uncertainty has seeped into every facet of our personal and professional lives, is essential.
The Majority Conferences, which have shown no hesitation to tax New Yorkers at will and spend the public’s hard-earned money, continue to sit on their hands during this historic spike. Our Conference is proposing a simple, direct solution to address this spiraling problem. It is long past time they bring this bill to the floor and give our residents the assistance they so obviously need.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also find me, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, on Facebook or on Twitter at @WillABarclay.