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Gas price petition shifts into high gear

The Harlem Valley Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce in its plan to stop ever-rising gas prices — which have put the business community at its mercy. It has taken the positive step of piggy-backing onto an online petition the county chamber created, to be sent to federal and state lawmakers, calling on them to put an end to the high prices at the pumps.In the county’s campaign to lower gas prices it is sending out a petition calling for an end to the high energy prices, which it states are “a chain reaction to all price increases.” Certainly there is a ripple effect, with the towering gas prices affecting everything from higher food costs to higher shipping fees and then some.The chamber claims that soaring gas prices, which just this week clocked in at $4.20 for regular unleaded, “could even cause the recovering economy to revert back into recession. If anything, it will surely slow the economic recovery.”The Harlem Valley Chamber is sending out emails to businesses in its coverage area with a link to the petition, asking for support. The connection to gas prices is clear, said chamber Vice President Brad Rebillard, who said that when gas is so expensive, potential consumers don’t drive from business to business to buy goods. They don’t drive to restaurants or to the movies, but rather stay at home to conserve gas. In fact, they don’t drive anywhere they don’t have to, as it might cost upward of $40 to $50 just to refill their cars with gasoline, and that might not even buy drivers a full tank of gas.“I think gas prices affects all levels of business, especially seeing how rural we are [in the Harlem Valley],” said Rebillard. “Anytime I get in the car and turn the key I think about where I’m going and plan as many things that I have to do from point A to point B, so I don’t have to go out again. That impacts us all.”That’s why the Harlem Valley Chamber of Commerce, following the lead of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, is hoping as many people, members or not, who can sign the online petition, pleading with lawmakers for lower gas prices, will. Never has the need been greater. It’s a proactive step, which is better than doing nothing at all, and if it makes an impact, all the better. So why not get the lead out and sign on? Let your government representatives know how you feel and that you expect them to do something about this emergency — because that’s exactly what it is. For more on the petition, read this week’s story on Page A1 or go online to www.dutchesscountyregionalchamber.org/GasPrice_petition.php.The elected officials who will be contacted to act on behalf of businesses and taxpayers are President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Charles Schumer, Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, Congressman Chris Gibson and Congressman Maurice Hinchey.

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