Residential Energy Sales Tax Has Been Eliminated

NEW CITY – As winter’s cold temperatures descend on Rockland, County taxpayers will pay less as the elimination of the Residential Energy Sales Tax goes into effect on Thursday, December 1, 2022.

The move is estimated to save county taxpayers about $4 million this winter and nearly $12 million annually going forward.

“As families continue to face increasing energy costs this heating season, I’m proud that my administration and the Legislature collaborated to eliminate the energy sales tax, which is equivalent to an 8.4% county property tax reduction,” Rockland County Executive Ed Day said. “I pledge to continue finding ways to lighten the load for families as best as we can.”

Elimination of the tax fulfills a commitment made by the County Legislature and the County Executive last year when the 2022 County Budget was amended, adopted and signed. The residential energy sales tax was put in place in 2012 and set to expire in 2025 after being extended due to the coronavirus crisis.

“I am hopeful that the ongoing actions that have been taken regarding the reduction of taxes will continue into 2023 and beyond,” Legislature Chairman Jay Hood Jr. said. “I appreciate the efforts of both branches of county government in working to identify ways

forward for the betterment of our residents and businesses.”
Additional efforts to bring meaningful tax relief include:
* A zero percent county property tax increase for 2022.
* Elimination of the county motor vehicle registration tax in 2022.
* Reduction of the county’s portion of sales tax on motor fuel purchases, capping the tax charged to the first $2 of a gasoline purchase. It is in effect through February of 2023.
* Proposed zero percent property tax increase for 2023.

“It’s important to note that even with these deep cuts, County services to residents and businesses remain strong,” Budget & Finance Committee Chairman Legislator Aron Wieder said. “In particular, when it comes to the elimination of the residential energy sales tax, it will bring real relief to families this winter.”

The residential energy sales tax applied to all sources of energy, including natural gas, propane and home heating oil, as well as electricity, including electricity used for heat, to keep the lights on, and any other uses.

“Finding ways to cut taxes is no easy feat, but I am proud to say that working together, County government found a way and the payoff will be very real for families during the coldest days of the year,” Legislative Minority Leader Lon Hofstein said.

The tax reduction actions follow due diligence to make sure the County’s fiscal position remains strong. Top credit rating agencies have continued to boost the County’s credit scores as the County’s deficit was eliminated and its final payments on a bond taken out to assist the deficit-reduction effort are set to end in 2024, among many other actions taken to fortify the County’s fiscal standing.

Rockland’s fiscal crisis was in significant part brought on by the collapse of the national housing market and the subsequent recession, which led to an extreme reduction in local sales tax revenues.

“It has been more than a decade since we were forced to increase taxes and add new ones – with the backing of the State Comptroller’s Office and the credit rating agencies – to help us address the fiscal crisis,” Budget & Finance Committee Vice Chairman Legislator Michael Grant said. “It is a tremendous relief to now be able to make these very meaningful cuts for the benefit of our deserving taxpayers.”

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