The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) and its membership of the 57 counties and the City of New York fully expect that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo will advance legislation to extend Mayoral control of the NYC school system and his proposed legislation extending the permanent sales tax authority for counties. Both should be approved as part of this Extraordinary Session.
The Governor advanced legislation, S.6566 (Flanagan), which passed the Senate on June 21, 2017. The bill grants permanent authority for counties to extend their existing sales tax rates by a vote of their legislative body every two years.
NYSAC calls on the members of the State Assembly and Senate to provide counties with permanent authority to continue their current sales tax rates, a local home rule revenue authority New York City was granted nearly a decade ago but has not been provided to counties. These local sales tax revenues enable counties and other local governments that receive a share of these revenues, to pay for state mandated programs and provide critical local services that would otherwise disappear.
The lack of action on county home rule requests during the regularly scheduled legislation session demonstrates the need for permanent authority. The consequence of inaction impacts the ability of counties (and the cities, towns, and villages who share these sales tax revenues) to govern and provide programs and services at the local level. It will also impact the cost of borrowing, as rating agencies are likely to downgrade local governments’ ability to finance publicly-issued bonds.
The continued inaction, uncertainty, and lack of leadership at the state level will do nothing to prevent increased property taxes, keep families here, attract jobs, or improve the quality of life in our great state.
Our member counties have asked the State Legislature to give them the authority to serve their communities, and we as their representative association call on the Governor and State Legislature to grant permanent sales tax authority to all New York counties.
Reaction from County Leaders:
Livingston County Administrator Ian Coyle: The extra 1 percent is roughly $8 million, so this inaction is a major, major issue. Passage cannot not happen. It would be too disastrous to counties Upstate and property taxes would soar. The State Legislature should simply get these out of the way early in the (legislative) session and focus the rest of the legislative calendar on real issues impacting New Yorkers.
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo: The county would face a $83 million gap without the sales tax extension. It is unfortunate that session ended in Albany without passing the sales tax extension for counties which has been in place for many years.
Seneca County Manager John Sheppard: Without the extra 1 percent, the county stands to lose $5.75 million in sales tax revenue for 2018. To make that much revenue up, the tax levy would need to increase an estimated 58 percent.That would mean the tax rate would go from $4.50 to $7.80 per $1,000 of assessed value… If they can’t agree or can’t even come back in for a special session, we have to take steps to deal with the impacts of losing that much revenue.
Yates County Legislative Chairman Timothy Dennis: The failure to act could cost us about $3 million. That will devastate our budget and cause either massive cutbacks or an unacceptable local property tax increase. It is time for the state government to act in a responsible manner and pass these extenders.