Tompkins County
New York


Resolution Calling on the Governor and State Legislative Leaders to Provide Counties with Permanent Local Authority Over Their Existing Sales Tax Rates


Department:Tompkins County LegislatureSponsors:
Category:Legislation or Funding - State and Federal


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Resolution/Document Body

              WHEREAS, like many counties in New York State, Tompkins County continues to face significant challenges in balancing its budgets while also meeting the goals of the property tax cap, and


              WHEREAS, the two primary revenue sources for Tompkins County are its real property tax and local sales tax, and


              WHEREAS, it is critically important for Tompkins County to have confidence and stability in its revenue projections in order to efficiently and prudently develop its annual operating budgets, as well as to develop and implement long-term capital and infrastructure plans, and


              WHEREAS, the State has made the property tax cap permanent, therefore limiting a key county revenue in the face of rising costs and service needs in our community, and


              WHEREAS, in recent years, five counties have seen their home rule revenue authority held hostage in unrelated state policy fights, resulting in the temporary lapse of local sales and mortgage recording tax collections, and


              WHEREAS, the loss of these revenues caused fiscal stress and budget uncertainty for these counties while increasing pressure on property tax rates, and this threat extends to all counties, including Tompkins, under the current state sales tax renewal process, and


              WHEREAS, in addition to addressing local quality of life services expected by its taxpayers, Tompkins County must also administer and pay for more than 40 State and federal programs that regularly consume close to two thirds of its entire budget, and


              WHEREAS, Tompkins County’s elected officials rely on their home rule authority to determine what balance of local taxes works best in their community, and


              WHEREAS, New York City was granted permanent local authority over their sales tax rate a decade ago, while county requests for the same authority have been repeatedly denied, and


              WHEREAS, Tompkins County must share its sales tax revenues with its constituent municipalities to help pay for services they deliver, or to directly lower the amount of property taxes levied in these jurisdictions, and


              WHEREAS, the pass-through of local sales tax revenue from Tompkins County to its constituent municipalities will likely exceed $10 million in 2019, and


              WHEREAS, it appears that all counties, including Tompkins, will be further required to use some of their sales tax revenues to make up for the elimination of AIM funding to their constituent municipalities, and


              WHEREAS, making Tompkins County’s existing local sales tax rate permanent would still allow for appropriate State legislative review in the future upon any change, and


              WHEREAS, permanent home rule sales tax authority will provide more budget certainty and stability for counties, including Tompkins, and


              WHEREAS, permanent home rule sales tax authority at existing rates will reduce administrative expense and duplication of effort to process the necessary paperwork, forms, legislative hearings, filings and notices, resulting in improved government operations and fiscal savings at both the State and local levels, now therefore be it


              RESOLVED, on recommendation of the Budget, Capital, and Personnel Committee, That Tompkins County calls upon the Governor and State Legislature to provide parity with New York City by granting permanent home rule sales tax authority to counties at their current tax rates,              


              RESOLVED, further, That the home rule process should be reformed so it works as efficiently as possible for local taxpayers and eliminates unnecessary and duplicative legislative activity at the State and local level, while retaining state legislative review, 


              RESOLVED, further, That the Clerk of the Legislature send copies of this resolution to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Temporary President of the Senate Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senators Pamela Helming, Tom O’Mara, and James Seward, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Assembly Member Barbara Lifton.




Meeting History

Oct 18, 2019 9:00 AM  Budget, Capital and Personnel Committee Regular Meeting
MOVER:Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Vice Chair
SECONDER:Glenn Morey, Member
AYES:Michael Lane, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Glenn Morey, Michael Sigler, Amanda Champion
Nov 7, 2019 5:30 PM Media Tompkins County Legislature Regular Meeting
MOVER:Anna Kelles, Member
SECONDER:Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Member
AYES:Shawna Black, Amanda Champion, Deborah Dawson, Henry Granison, Rich John, Anna Kelles, Daniel Klein, Anne Koreman, Michael Lane, Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, David McKenna, Glenn Morey, Martha Robertson, Michael Sigler