Last week, we saw that the Consumer Price Index rose 8.3% in August compared to the same time last year. Inflation continues to wreak havoc in all of our lives, as wage growth remains stagnant. It is insulting and factually incorrect when we see Washington and Albany Democrats go out in the news saying inflation is 'getting better' or it's 'cooling down.' Look no further than President Biden's victory lap at the White House with Democratic leaders touting the 'Inflation Reduction Act' as inflation in the real-world continues to remain at record highs and the stock market is sent into a tailspin. We are living in two different realities, one with elite Democrats wearing rose-colored glasses trying to ease inflation fears before election season and another where hardworking folks are paying record grocery and energy bills.
At the state level, we can do more and, frankly, we should have done it a long time ago. The 'Inflation Relief and Consumer Assistance Plan' (A.8481), which was introduced by Leader Barclay, would slash state sales tax for two years on everything from gas to groceries to utility bills. This would provide immediate and meaningful relief. The windfall in state sales tax revenue could easily be covered by surplus money from the federal government. The Democratic Majorities in Albany refused to even bring this legislation up for debate. The question is, why not? And why are they standing in the way of us trying to make your lives just a little bit easier?
To add insult to injury, National Grid is predicting a 39% hike in winter heating bills. They call the winter heating season Nov. 1 to March 31. Each homeowner could be shouldered with an additional $50 plus a month on their already record-high heating bills. So many are already living at the margins, and I fear a lack of state-level action with prior tax-and-spend sprees by Albany Democrats we could see a further exodus of residents.
Energy prices at all-time highs would only exponentially grow under the current Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act draft scoping plan. With many mandates that would ban natural gas and require electric vehicle purchases not too far off in the future, we need to be vocal about our opposition to the plan in its current form. It is predicted that each homeowner could be on the hook for more than $35,000 to fully electrify their home to meet the standards laid out in the scoping plan. Inflation or not, who has an extra $35,000 laying around? Not to mention, Albany Democrats pushing this plan have failed to answer the question of reliability. In California, we just recently saw rolling blackouts with the governor asking electric vehicle owners to not charge their cars, while at the same time mandating electric car purchases.
One-party rule federally and within New York state is only exacerbating this record inflation. This November, let's vote for balance within government. Let's vote with our wallets.
As always, if you have any questions about this or any other issue, please don't hesitate to contact my office.
State Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush, R,C,I-Black River, represents the 117th District for the New York State Assembly. He can be reached at [email protected] or call his office at 315-493-3909.