Cuomo on Ulster sales tax: “I can’t sign a bill that didn’t pass”


If lawmakers are called back to Albany this year, they likely won’t be asked to consider Ulster County’s sales-tax rate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled Thursday.

The state Assembly left the Capitol last month without taking action on a bill that would keep Ulster’s sales-tax share at 4 percent, with Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston, and Ulster County Executive Mike Hein blaming each other for the impasse.

When asked about the bill during a stop Thursday in Newburgh, Orange County, Cuomo said the lack of legislative action handcuffs him.

“It didn’t pass,” Cuomo told reporters. “I can’t sign a bill that didn’t pass.”

Ulster’s sales-tax rate will drop to 3 percent after November unless the Legislature takes up the bill in a yet-to-be-called special session. State law caps counties’ sales tax at 3 percent, but more than 50 counties seek and receive exemptions every two years.

The state’s sales tax is an additional 4 percent.

Cuomo, however, said he only plans to call a special session if the federal government does not approve assistance grants for homeowners in the Mohawk Valley and western New York who were hit with flooding in recent weeks.

When asked whether the Ulster County bill could be added to a potential session’s agenda, Cuomo said the focus would remain on flooding victims.

“If I call a special session, it will be for emergency relief for counties in this state that are going through some very difficult times right now,” Cuomo said.

Hein has blasted Cahill for the lack of action on the bill, which has been passed every two years since 1993. Cahill had sought to have the county pick up the cost of elections, which is currently taken on by municipal governments in the county, but said Hein was unwilling to negotiate.

The additional percentage point brings in about $22 million in annual revenue for Ulster, according to Hein.


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  1. North of the Hutch on

    8% is way to high anyway for people to pay. The citizens of NJ revolted a few years ago when the gov. raised it. Why don’t the people who live in NY get it?

  2. HERE instead of commenting on the HEADLINE rather, I would like to share a Story here!

    There was a small Village in a Small Town America in the Year 2013. There was a Junkie who had just smoked pot. . . . was asked by the Reports ” Is it Thursday toady?”

    The Junkie replied ” No! Its. . .Friday! ” And that ” “It is!” told reporters. “I can’t say it’s Thursday when its Friday!

    HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller

  3. Note : CORRECTION
    I deeply regret that in My ABOVEMENTIONED COMMENT where I TOUCHPAD Typed “CONSTITUTION” it typed the Spelling wrong! I tried to correct it! BUT SOMEHOW it is not letting me. And, I regret the mistake due to the TOUCH PAD KEY BOARD! It’s beyond the WRITERS Imagination that exact mistake and why and how it occurred! I never typed it! And, Please read it as Right only.


  4. This is only 1/2 the story. Hein made a commitment to take over the Ulster County only, imposed safety net costs and he has reneged on his promise. Cahill with the help of the County Supervisors, and the County Legislature, forced Hein to live up to his word, nothing more, nothing less.
    Hein would have you believe that Cahill did this out of some sort of power play, when in reality, Cahill was only doing what a good state representative should, make sure the legislation that impacts his district is beneficial to the taxpayers. He has never carried or voted for the sales tax extension in his entire political career.
    The icing on the cake is that Hein refused to talk to Cahill about this for the last 4 years, outright refused. Cahill had no choice but to force Hein to keep his commitment.

    Cuomo is wise to stay out of this fight, Hein is a prima donna who screams and then pouts,when he doesn’t get his way.