Democrats Propose Specific Sales Tax Relief

POUGHKEEPSIE – At the Tuesday night, January 17, full board meeting of the Dutchess County Legislature, Democratic legislators proposed cutting the county sales tax to help families and seniors struggling to make ends meet and make Dutchess businesses more competitive.

The amendment, introduced by Legislator Kristofer Munn (D-Red Hook/Tivoli), would reduce the county sales tax from 8.125% to 8%.

“Republicans just voted to spend $25M in 2023 on stadium renovations for the New York Yankees but refuse to provide sales tax relief for seniors, families and small businesses. Their priorities are clear,” said Legislator Kristofer Munn (D-Red Hook).

Both Columbia and Ulster County’s sales taxes are at 8% so the change would finally also put Dutchess businesses on equal footing with their competitors in those counties and advantage them against Putnam (8.375%) and Orange County (8.125%).”

Minority Leader Yvette Valdés Smith (D- Beacon/Fishkill) added, “At a time when so many of our residents are struggling to pay their bills, we know that rolling back our sales tax is a helpful and fiscally responsible thing to do. A lower sales tax rate would also benefit our County’s small businesses.”

Dutchess County expects to collect nearly twice as much in sales taxes in 2023 compared to just 12 years ago. Sales taxes made up 45% of the budget in 2022 compared to just 30% in 2010.

Assistant Minority Leader Barrington Atkins (D- City of Poughkeepsie) stated, “At this point the most prudent thing to do would be to reduce the pressure on taxpayers, they deserve some relief in these times where seemingly everything is going up.”

The final vote on the amendment to provide tax relief was defeated in a party-line vote 17 to 6, with all Republicans voting No and all Democrats voting Yes. And the resolution to increase the tax rate passed in another party-line vote of 17 yes to 6 no, with two members absent.

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