It’s Time to Renew the Discussion of the Sales Tax Sharing Arrangement in Putnam County.

On July 5, 2022, the Putnam County Legislature enacted Resolution #133, which provided $5 million of the county’s 2021 sales tax revenue to be allocated directly to our towns and villages for use on projects related to infrastructure, mental health, substance abuse, food insecurity, and other local priorities. The one year anniversary of the enactment of this historic and enlightened resolution is approaching. So let’s make a discussion of renewing the County’s sales tax sharing arrangement (and the possibility of making it permanent) a priority.

When the Legislature passed Resolution #133 unanimously, with bipartisan support, Putnam County joined the vast majority of counties in New York State, including all five of its neighbors, in sharing a portion of its sales tax revenue with local municipalities. Because the allocation was derived from the growth in sales tax revenue over the previous year rather than from budgeted funds, it did not compete with funds allocated for services Putnam County currently provides, and did not require any new taxes.

The revenue sharing initiative was a resounding success. It provided badly needed funds for local projects that municipalities are in the best position to identify and execute, such as repairs and upgrades to Putnam Valley’s water and sewer infrastructure, renovations to a public park in Kent, a feasibility study for a village-wide sewer system in Nelsonville, and expenses for an EMS Building in Patterson. Allowing municipalities to focus resources where they are needed most increases government efficiency, improves quality of life, fosters healthy communities, supports economic development, and helps create and maintain a vibrant and productive business environment. It also gives local communities the satisfaction of helping determine how sales tax revenue generated by their local businesses and residents is allocated.

In 2022, Putnam County collected a record $82 million in sales tax revenue, approximately $17 million more than was budgeted. Based on the formula used in Resolution #133, this would translate to $8.5 million in funds to be shared in 2023 with Putnam County towns and villages. For the sake of our communities, and our local economy, we believe that a discussion of allowing local governments to help direct these surplus funds to where they are needed most will be good not only for these municipalities, but also for the county as a whole.

We therefore urge the elected officials and the business community of Putnam County to begin discussions about renewing sales tax revenue sharing and making it permanent, starting in 2023.

Nat Prentice
President, Putnam County Business Council

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