Shoppers in Westchester will be spending a little more after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to increase sales tax in county municipalities.
Cuomo signed the Westchester Property Tax Payer Protection Act on Sunday, June 30, which will increase sales tax by 1 percent – up to 8.375 – in the county’s 20 villages, 19 towns, and the cities of Peekskill and Rye. It takes effect on Aug. 1.
As part of the bill, the property tax levy will remain flat for the next two years. The proposal is expected to help stabilize the county’s finances after losing its AAA rating – the highest ranking available – in each of the Big 3 rating agencies, last year.
The sales tax hike is expected to generate nearly $150 million in sales tax revenue annually, including nearly $60 million through the end of the year.
The Westchester County Board of Elections has scheduled a special meeting to enact the measure on Monday, July 1, County Executive George Latimer said. Latimer noted that “(his) administration is working on a number of very specific actions that will be implemented immediately in response to this news” that will be announced at a press conference on Monday, July 8 at Greenburgh Town Hall.
“Today in Westchester County we are grateful Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Property Tax Payer Protection Act,” he said. “This county owes a debt of gratitude to the governor and New York lawmakers, especially Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie and Westchester’s New York State Delegation Leader Assembly Member Gary Pretlow, for giving property taxpayers relief, and for giving us the ability to stabilize the county’s finances.”
The current tax rate in most of the county is 7.375 percent. That rate is a point higher in Westchester’s biggest cities of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and White Plains, and slightly higher than those in Yonkers. The proposal would see a jump to an 8.375 percent countywide, with Yonkers maintaining the highest rate.
Officials noted that the proposed rate is the same as Rockland County, and slightly lower than Nassau and Suffolk County on Long Island.
“We fought a long hard battle for parity with other counties and with other cities in our own county, and today we are able to say property taxpayers will soon see some relief,” Latimer said. “This is a victory for municipalities and school districts in this County – today we all benefit.
“This is a new day in Westchester County, and I am thankful and proud of the teamwork and unity exhibited to accomplish this.”