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Dire Consequences for Ulster County, New York


 Ulster County, New York: delays really can kill legislation.

The local sales and use tax rate in Ulster County, New York, is 4%. That includes a 1% temporary sales tax that needs to be renewed by state lawmakers every two years or face extinction. Passage of Home Rule measures is usually routine, as revenue generated by the additional sales tax helps reduce property tax by spreading the cost of necessary services to visitors as well as residents. Yet this year, Ulster County found itself in a sales tax squabble that resulted in the death of the proposed legislation.

It wasn't for lack of trying. Ulster County "unanimously passed bi-partisan resolutions" in support of "active companion bills in the Assembly and the Senate:" A5130 and S4516. Yet the bills were reportedly "held hostage" by Ulster Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D).

Mr. Cahill sponsored separate legislation that would have granted the sales tax extension "if the county agreed to take on the cost of local elections from municipalities." Approximately half of the Home Rule counties in New York pay for the cost of municipal elections.

Ulster County Executive Mike Hein (D) called Mr. Cahill's actions "unconscionable." He said blockage of the Home Rule measure would have "unimaginable negative consequences" for Ulster County taxpayers. Mr. Cahill, however, said he was open to negotiating: "It's he [Mike Hein] who does not want to negotiate."

Wherever the fault may lie, the result is what matters, and Ulster County may soon find out just how unimaginably negative the consequences are. The New York Legislature has concluded its 2013 session and is not due back in Albany until 2014. They left without passing an Ulster County Home Rule bill, and the additional sales tax is set to expire later this year.

Mr. Hein predicts that, unless legislators return to settle this matter, it will "impact the county to the tune of $22 million and the city of Kingston to the tune of $3 million."

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photo credit: adopt a negotiator via photopin cc


Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.