Local counties have opposed a new sales tax budget proposal.
Steuben County Manager, Jack Wheeler, said the New York State Assembly and Senate have been looking to restore the proposed cuts to fund Aid and Incentives to Municipalities, also known as AIM.
“That’s a win, on the other side, we’re hearing more disturbing news that the Governor and the state legislature may be embargoing some of our sales tax money,“ Wheeler said.
Because AIM cuts were restored, Steuben County is safe from losing $250,000. According to Wheeler, the projected loss of revenue from the Internet sales tax in Steuben County would be about $800,000.
The Wayfair decision of Internet sales tax that was upheld by the Supreme Court leveled the playing field for online and local retailers.
New York State is in the process of solidifying the rules for the collection of that sales tax.
Currently, all sales tax collected is split in half between the state and counties to fund local services like road repairs and senior programs.
The state is proposing to keep the gain counties would have received from the Internet sales tax.
“It’s balancing the budget, as we say many times, on the backs of the local taxpayer,“ Wheeler said. “This is why your property taxes in New York State are so high, the levels of local government try to cut taxes in any way, it’s the state-funded programs and the state-mandated programs that increase the cost.“
Wheeler said sales tax is one of the ways to manage increased costs because it’s a dollar less to collect in property taxes.
“If I go and purchase something online, there’s an expectation on my part that the sales tax will stay local, that’s not the case with the proposal,“ Wheeler said. “We’re really pushing against it, we’re really advocating that cooler heads prevail up there and that they don’t just continue to take local resources that are supposed to stay local and send it to Albany, it does no good for us.“
WEB EXCLUSIVE: For the full interview with Jack Wheeler, click on the video.