The Greene County Legislature is joining with the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) to call on the Governor Hochul and members of the State Assembly and Senate to end the practice of diverting local sales taxes out of local communities and into state coffers.
Since 2019, New York State has been diverting local sales taxes that should go to local programs and services and are redirecting them to pay for state responsibilities — first to cover the costs of the AIM program for towns, and villages; and second to fund a state pool for distressed health care facilities.
The Greene County Legislature wants the state to ensure that the final state budget agreement includes language that ends the practice which has diverted more than $677 million in local sales taxes away from local communities and into the state’s general fund — equivalent to $618,000 per day over the last three years.
“Local tax revenue should stay in the community where it is collected,” noted Matt Luvera – Vice-Chair of the Greene County Legislature. “This is money that is meant to support the residents of Greene County, and helps fund local services, community colleges, meals for seniors, 9-1-1 programs, and mental health and addiction services here in our communities. We shouldn’t be required to use it to foot the bill for state and federal expenditures.”
“Nobody disputes aid to municipalities and distressed health care facilities is incredibly important, especially during the pandemic. What local governments are saying is that these programs should be funded by the state and federal government who have more capacity to raise revenue and are not reliant on regressive taxes,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “It’s time to get back to normal in this state, and that means returning to responsible budgeting that keeps local tax revenue in local communities.”
Acquario noted that counties were grateful to Governor Hochul for eliminating the diversion of local sales taxes to support the state Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) program from her Executive Budget proposal and hopeful it will stay out of the final budget. Now, Acquario said, counties are requesting that the remaining diversion be allowed to sunset on March 31st of this year, as originally proposed in 2020.
Let’s ensure that the County’s collective voice is heard to advocate for the end of the local sales tax diversion. You can take action by calling, texting, emailing or tweeting to Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea-Stewart Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, State Senator Michele Hinchey, and Assemblyman Chris Tague.