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Pataki pushes cuts in air fuel tax to lower fares

Pataki's proposal was part of amendments to the 2001-02...

By Philip Newman

Gov. George Pataki wants to cut taxes on fuel used in commercial flights within New York state as a way to encourage airlines to make intrastate air travel cheaper and help the state’s economy.

Pataki's proposal was part of amendments to the 2001-02 budget sent to the state Legislature last week.

“This tax cut will make air fares more affordable for New York travelers, encouraging airlines to increase the number of flights they offer and provide a tremendous lift to the upstate economy,” Pataki said.

“From bringing Southwest Airlines to Buffalo and Albany to attracting other low-fare air carriers such as JetBlue to Buffalo, Rochester and now Syracuse, we have taken important steps to reduce air fares and increase the number of travelers at New York’s airports.”

He said “lower air fares are a key factor in a company’s decision to locate or expand in New York and this new tax cut will help to further improve our prospects for attracting new businesses by reducing the cost of air travel.”

The proposal would lower the Petroleum Business Tax on airline fuel used within New York state. It would eliminate such taxes on fuel used in flights taking off and landing in the state. The current Petroleum Business Tax was imposed in 1990.

The present law provides for such taxes on all airline fuel used during takeoffs from every airport in New York regardless of destination.

For flights between cities within New York airlines are also taxed on the fuel used when the plane reaches cruising altitude. On flights landing outside New York, the fuel used during that part of the flight is not taxed, effectively imposing a higher tax burden on air travel inside the state of New York.

The new legislative measure would provide $2 million in tax savings for airline consumers and become effective June 1, 2001.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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