Cayuga County Removes Sales Tax on Household Energy Sources | Policy

Homeowners in Cayuga County outside of the city of Auburn should see a reduction in their home energy bills this fall.

The county legislature last month voted to remove the 4% sales tax it levies on residential energy purchases. While the state exempted sales tax for several years, several counties, cities, and school districts in the state continued to charge one.

This included the city of Auburn and Cayuga County, but starting in September, the county tax will no longer apply.

The move will eliminate a revenue stream that amounts to approximately $1 million for the county, and is the main reason the vote to remove the tax was split at the County Legislature’s meeting. last month.

Democrats in the Legislative Assembly, while backing the measure’s intent to relieve landlords of what is an essential service, said they wanted to hold the vote until they could see a financial analysis more detail of the county budget. In recent weeks, the county learned that its overall sales tax growth was not as robust as initially believed due to new state calculations.

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Lawmaker Brian Muldrow, D-Auburn, expressed concern about voting on a measure without more information about its budget impact. “Where do you get that million dollars?” He asked.

Lawmaker Hans Pecher, C-Genoa, said the county needs to better control spending.

“We spend like drunken sailors. We have to cut back,” he said. “This tax is totally unfair, because it is based on necessity.”

Legislator Christina Calarco, D-Auburn, called for the vote to be tabled.

“It’s a big thing to make a decision on, and I agree that we need to look at reducing that stress on our constituents,” she said. “However, it’s too important not to have all the data in front of us.”

A table vote was overruled in a party line vote. One of the reasons the Republican-led majority voted against the filing was the timing. For the exemption to take effect on September 1, the county had to give the state at least 30 days notice. And under state law, the next opportunity to remove county sales tax could not arise until December 1.

In the final vote endorsing the removal of the tax, Muldrow was only the Democratic vote in favor of removing the tax, but noted “only because I hope we can figure this out.”

Tax exemptions apply to residential gas, propane (100 pounds or more), electricity, steam, coal, fuel oil and firewood. The exemption approved by the county legislature does not apply to residents of Auburn, which collects sales taxes separately from the county.

Neighboring municipalities that have imposed the residential energy tax include Cortland and Tompkins counties and the cities of Ithaca and Oswego.

Jeremy Boyer can be reached at (315) 282-2231 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @CitizenBoyer

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