‘Powerful’ tax hike looms

Can a residential electricity tax fix a budget shortfall?

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 7/14/20

MONTICELLO, NY — As the county searches for ways to offset staggering COVID-19-related budget shortfalls, tax increases are always an option.

At last Thursday’s Management and Budget …

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‘Powerful’ tax hike looms

Can a residential electricity tax fix a budget shortfall?

Posted

MONTICELLO, NY — As the county searches for ways to offset staggering COVID-19-related budget shortfalls, tax increases are always an option.

At last Thursday’s Management and Budget Committee meeting, county manager Josh Potosek proposed a residential energy tax.

It would essentially be a four-percent sales tax on residential energy use, affecting electricity bills and home heating, Potosek said. Businesses are already paying it. 

The residential tax would sunset in 2022 and could only be reimposed with an act by the county legislature. 

“Many counties and school districts are doing this,” he said.

Cayuga County, for example, up in the Finger Lakes, has a similar population of 76,000 and a per capita income of $29,022. Its top three employers are the hospital, the Department of Corrections and the county. Sullivan County’s per capita income is $29,292 and its top three employers are Resorts World Catskills, the Center for Discovery and the Sullivan County government. 

Cayuga brings in $2.75 million annually from its tax, Potosek said. 

Legislators discussed the impact on second-home owners (who are usually here in the summer and so would pay less tax on heating), renters, and seniors, as well as how the School Tax Relief (STAR) program would affect final tax bills to homeowners. 

Further discussion is planned but no dates were set at the meeting.

County data was retrieved from the census bureau, Cayuga Economic Development Agency and the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development. 

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