June 25, 2013

Legislature OKs Essex Co. sales-tax hike

Essex County increase awaits governor's signature

ELIZABETHTOWN — People who make purchases in Essex County may soon pay an extra one-quarter percent in sales tax.

Last Friday, both houses of the State Legislature approved the county’s request for a one-quarter percent hike in its county sales tax.

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That means the 3.75 percent county rate would go to 4 percent — matching the state’s 4 percent — if Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the bill into law and the Essex County Board of Supervisors then votes for the increase.

Essex County would then have a combined sales tax rate of 8 percent, the same as surrounding counties.


The extra one-quarter percent would generate about $2 million in additional sales tax revenue, County Manager Daniel Palmer said.

Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury), who sponsored the bill in the Assembly, said that if the governor signs the bill, it’s still up to the county to OK the increase.

“This is a Home Rule legislation that gives them the option,” he said. “I am a big believer in Home Rule. Since they asked for it, I’d be surprised if they didn’t follow through. 

“This makes a big difference on their finances.”

The increase was not on the agenda for discussion at Monday’s Board of Supervisors Ways and Means session, Vice Chair William Ferebee (R-Keene) said, out of courtesy to Cuomo, who must still sign the legislation before it can take effect.

“It’s good news for the county,” Ferebee said. “We can use it.”

Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) couldn’t be at Monday’s meeting, but he said by email that it looks like the county finally succeeded this time.

“This was desperately needed to increase our revenues without going onto the property tax.”

He said County Attorney Daniel Manning, County Manager Dan Palmer and County Treasurer Mike Diskin worked hard on the submission for the proposal.

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