Largely due to the inclusion of the sales tax on residential energy, I could not support the proposed 2014 budget. Although alternatives that addressed both the revenue and the expense sides of the budget were proposed, there was a lack of bipartisan support for these ideas.
I would, however, like to thank my fellow legislators for supporting me in my call to consider the impact of recent declines in HEAP assistance and to look for ways to lessen the impact of the new tax. The original budget included a woefully inadequate $500,000 in additional funding for heating assistance. Through bipartisan efforts, the budget now contains an additional $250,000 for this program.
The sales tax on residential energy is set to expire on February 28, 2017 but it can be modified or rescinded before that date. I will continue to explore alternative solutions to reconciling future budget deficits while aggressively looking for ways to lessen the impact of this tax on residents.
I urge you to call the County Executive at 845-486-2000 to express your concerns and displeasure with this most recent legislation.