Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Knowing the financial dilemma facing the county as we approach 2012, I join my fellow Legislators in a sigh of relief. Last Friday while we were all watching the high profile votes like the Big Ugly and Same-Sex Marriage, the Senate also permitted the extension of the 1% sales tax here at the County level. 

Let me extend a big thanks to both Assemblyman Tom Kirwin and Senator Bill Larkin for sponsoring the bill this year. 

As reported in the press, we legislators were a little concerned that the State bodies hadn't voted on it until the last minute.Faced with the diminished projected funds heading into the next budget session, we would have scrambled like madmen to find additional revenue. Including increased taxes. 
As noted: The legislation allows the county to continue collecting an additional 1 percent sales tax that generates about $25 million for the county and local municipalities. With the increase, the county sales-tax rate is 4 percent. Placing additional taxes on our property rather than sales tax, means people who visit Ulster County help offset the financial burden of upkeep here in the tourism Mecca of the Hudson Valley. Roads, bridges and infrastructure are all part of the responsibility of the county and keeping Ulster County "open" is economic priority one.

County Exec Hein told the Record: Without the sales-tax extension, the costs would be passed along to the property tax. He added: There was no increase in the tax levy last year; meanwhile, the county payroll declined.
"The reason that you need these things is to be able to offset ever-declining state aid."

The 2011 budget was painful enough without having to contend with the sales tax issue. Mind you, there are other sales tax issues we have to deal with regarding the transfer of the safety net costs to the County where they should be. That will be a nut to crack of epic proportion. But that's another post.


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to my annual weekend getaway to NH. While I am there I pick up any big ticket items I want, tax free. Might not save me a lot, but it makes me feel good.

Anonymous said...

Did it ever cross anyone's mind to reduce spending instead of continuing this tax? Or how about Ulster County do away with it? Probably make up the 25 million and more in no time. People would come from far and wide to Ulster County to buy big ticket items like appliances, cars and jewelry. 1% off of a $25,000 or $45,000 car is well worth the trip across the bridge. People will drive a mile to save a penny a gallon on gas, they will drive quite a bit more to save hundreds of dollars.

The mandate issue is separate from this tax extension, even though the 1% sales tax initially had a tax cap associated with it. That disappeared as quickly as the word temporary did from this extension.

I suggest the County Legislature and the Executive start lobbying Hein's good friend Cuomo and ask what happened to the mandate relief that was suppose to be part of his big Tax Cap proposal? A tax cap without mandate relief is nothing more than a cost shift. Has nothing to do with sales tax.

Hein and the Legislature need to start thinking long term and outside of the box. This status quo stuff has to change. Maybe they are just not capable. That is a real possibility.

Anonymous said...

Yeah to the republicans!! No more bashing them from the democratic side. They did good and came to the rescue.

Anonymous said...

I, for one am pleased to know the sales tax was extended. A loss of $25M in sales tax, combined with the tax cap, may have had devastating consequences. Still waiting to hear of some mandate relief though.

Anonymous said...

How can you support this?

Sales tax hurts the poorest people the most. Think about it, who needs it more? The person who only makes $400 a week or the person who make $1400 a week? If they both spend $150 on taxable groceries, that is $12. Who needs that $12 more? The person making $400 or the person making $1400?

The Legislature is voting like conservatives! There are alternatives to knee jerk, reactionary votes like this one. You were elected to find them!

PS:Where have all the Democrats gone?

Anonymous said...

Raising sales tax is not the answer. Cutting spending is.
The County has made decisions to provide certain services, they are not free. There are plenty of self imposed county mandates in the budget. Blaming state "mandates" is an easy way to deflect responsibility. List them and then show where they impact the county budget or stop talking about them and using them as an excuse. List the county's own mandates and see where you can cut.
Now that you think about it, the county budget has it's own mandates in it now doesn't it?

Let's talk about the Sheriffs road patrol, non mandated and very, very, very expensive. The Sate Police are obligated to patrol the county roads. That is a reverse mandate that should be explored. The State MUST provide police protection why should we pay locally for that when the state has no choice but to patrol county roads.

Golden Hill, non mandated and very, very, very expensive. Time to take this unnecessary burden from the taxpayers of this county and look at alternatives to keeping our older residents safe and well cared for.

Do we really need a consumer affairs office? No, there is a state office in Poughkeepsie,. They too are obligated to serve ulster county. Reverse mandate again. Push back! Fight back!

Just removing those self imposed mandates will set the County in the right direction.

Stop kicking the can down the road. Do something.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Cahill didn't support the request and as such kept it in Committee. Shame Shame on Cahill.

Anonymous said...

To 10:32 -- Going back as far as it's inception, even as a County Legislator, Cahill has never supported or voted for it. (Read Hugh Reynold's column from last week.) It should be no surprise to anyone involved that he did not support it in 2011. What is a surprise is that people criticize Cahill for sticking to his guns and being one of only a few politicians in Ulster County, and now apparently, N.Y. State, who can be relied upon to defend Democratic Party principles.
As 1:33 pointed out, sales tax is a regressive tax that impacts the less fortunate far more negatively than the average person. I am proud to support Cahill, a true Democrat.

Anonymous said...

Right about cutting the size of the county goverment but you know all the complaints you would here. This legislature is a do nothing so don't expect it but if you want go to the executive office, sheriff, golden hill, Dpw, more drom the legislature. here are some starting points