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State appropriates $600K in Greene County sales tax

Dec 21, 2020 1:45 pm

Andrea Macko is reporting for Porcupine Soup state officials are delivering what the New York State Association of Counties is calling “the next fiscal gut punch for county taxpayers.” David Lucas, who serves as the association’s director of finance and intergovernmental affairs, said the latest state policies “essentially confiscate local sales tax revenue and diverts it to the state to fill self-inflicted holes in the state's financial plan.” Greene County Legislature Chair, Republican Pat Linger, said the state is withholding roughly $600,000 in local sales tax revenue from Greene County. Sales tax is the county’s biggest source of revenue, and the county is on track to collect a total of $32.2 million in sales tax revenue before year end. In 2021, the county is projected to bring in $1.1 million more in sales tax than in 2020, but New York State will keep $600,000. “We have lost almost $600,000 simply because the state signed something into law,” said Linger. The money will be appropriated for Assistance and Incentives to Municipalities, or AIM, plus a new fund for distressed hospitals. AIM provides state aid to all of New York’s cities, except New York City, and 137 towns and villages. In 2019 the state decided 20 percent of AIM would be covered through a portion of county sales tax revenue. For Greene County, the price tag this year is $247,000. New York’s Distressed Hospital Fund will help fiscally stressed hospitals and nursing homes. Greene County’s share is $350,000 in generated sales tax revenue. “Combined, counties are staring down more than $1.3 billion in revenue losses this year,” Lucas explained. “With health care facilities receiving significant federal help, and local governments left to fend for themselves, counties are asking state lawmakers to abandon this diversion of scarce sales tax dollars to hospitals who are receiving aid from the federal government, and let it remain with local governments who aren't receiving any such aid." Linger credited county legislators and officials for their effort to control expenses while providing essential services during a challenging time, adding, he is "thankful that the fiscal stewardship of 10 years of sales tax revenue surpluses has contributed to a healthy reserve fund to help us through.” Read the full story in Porcupine Soup.