Democratic proposal for cut defeated

The Dutchess Legislature on Tuesday (Jan. 17) voted to extend a longtime, three quarters of a percentage increase in the sales tax.

Dutchess residents pay 8.125 percent sales tax on most purchases; 3.75 percent goes to the county, 4 percent to the state and 0.375 percent to public transit. The county portion was 3 percent until 2003, when the Legislature raised it. The increase must be reauthorized every few years.

The 17-6 vote on Tuesday, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed (and two members absent), extended the increase through November 2025. But before the vote, Democrats introduced a measure to make the increase 3.625 percent, putting the total tax at 8 percent. They argued that the decrease would give Dutchess businesses an advantage over Putnam (8.375 percent) and Orange (8.125). But the proposal was defeated along party lines.

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