The mission of the Ulster County Comptroller’s Office is to serve as an independent agency of the people and to protect the public interest by monitoring County government and to assess and report on the degree to which its operation is economical, efficient and its financial condition sound.
ELLIOTT AUERBACH PHONE: (845) 340-3529 COUNTY COMPTROLLER email@example.com
244 FAIR STREET
KINGSTON, NEW YORK 12401
For Immediate Release
Kingston, New York (February 21,2014)…Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach is promoting a revision to NYS Law that would allow county legislatures in New York State to set their sales tax rates without interference from the New York State Legislature. “County legislatures should be vested with the sole authority to determine if an additional sales tax is to be levied without interference from the State Legislature,” said Auerbach. Auerbach cites the recent showdown over the State Legislature’s months of delay in reauthorizing Ulster County’s full sales tax as just one of the motivations for the proposal. “The current state law set the stage for political gamesmanship between the County and the State, ignited a volatile discourse between elected officials and undermined the budget process for both the County Executive and the County Legislature,” says Auerbach. But Auerbach is quick to point out that the proposal is not merely a knee-jerk reaction to Ulster’s recent tussle with Albany. While the tax in question was ultimately restored, Auerbach said “it is a home-rule issue, and County governments throughout the State have a stake in it. It is simply not in the best interest of County taxpayers to allow the NYS Legislature to impede a county’s home rule authority.” The broad appeal of the measure is evidenced by the fact that Auerbach is working with and through the NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC), which has also called for reform of the process. “Let county legislatures determine the best mix of locally raised revenues they deem most effective for local taxpayers,” said Auerbach. “The ramifications of Ulster County’s loss of 1% of its sales tax revenue in December 2013 and January 2014 won’t be known until late March which is when the final tallies are completed,” said Auerbach, “but we are watching this closely.” Auerbach will base his analysis on the actual sales tax received for those two months in the past three years. In the meantime, the Comptroller will recommend to both the Ulster County Legislature and Executive that they join the NYSAC Home Rule initiative.