Rockland County New York Wants to Raise Sales Tax
- Jan 16, 2012 | Susan McLain
Our government is one of checks and balances. Where states are struggling to figure out how to balance their budgets, reduce deficits and increase revenue, the lower level areas of government such as counties and cities are also seeing a pinch and a challenge financially. When the economy begins to struggle, the Federal government reduces payments to states, the states reduce revenues going to cities and counties and everyone is scrambling to figure out what to do.
Rockland County in New York is one such county struggling to handle creating an “…overall deficit-reduction plan [that] would not only eliminate the deficit, it would make this county go through a process of financially sound budgeting and expenditures for the next decade at least.” Rockland is considering borrowing $80 million to pay down on its deficit to maintain control of its finances. In order to handle this debt, and avoid the state “…appoint an outside control board to manage the county’s finances,” they want to raise the county’s portion of sales tax by 0.375 of a percentage point.
This measure is seeing some strong support from one legislator, Ilan Schoenberger, D-Wesley Hills, however, “before the county has to deal with financial reports [to the state comptroller], it has to get approval from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Senate and the Assembly to move forward with borrowing and the sales-tax increase.”
The county hopes to raise about $14 million and already has ideas for how to use it: funding operations, keeping several crime-prevention programs going and more than 550 workers on the job. So while states struggle with huge deficits (New York struggled with a $10 billion deficit in 2011), local regions also face their own budgetary challenges. Challenges that are making Rockland County, at least, consider raising local sales taxes to help fund their recovery.