David Paterson invoked Hurricane Katrina while reiterating his opposition to the gas-tax holiday, a proposal that was supported by Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail, and which recently passed the State Senate with Joe Bruno’s backing.
At a press conference about a personnel matter in his midtown office, Paterson told reporters to go to the oil companies and “ask them why, the week after Katrina—the Katrina Hurricane—August 29, 2005, ask them why the gas prices went up in that week.
"It couldn’t have had anything to do with the gas," Paterson charged. "Because gas delivery took place three weeks before then. They sold you the same gas that was in their tank the week before at—at some points—10 to 15 percent higher.”
Paterson added, “We can diminish the tax on them, but there’s no guarantee they’re going to pass that along to the consumer.” He went on to say that if there was such an assurance from oil companies and distributors, he would sign the bill. (In either case, its support in the Assembly is not firm).
The governor called the press conference to announce that he is hiring his “great friend and old opponent,” Galen Kirkland, to head the state’s Division of Human Rights. Kirkland and Paterson ran for the State Senate against each other four times.
When asked if the civil rights of Sean Bell had been violated, Kirkland said, “That’s something we’ll have to look at.”