Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga) today announced he will introduce new legislation to temporarily suspend sales taxes on essentials for victims of Hurricane Irene and recent incidences of flooding in New York State.
The sales tax credits are for moving expenses (renting a truck, placing belongings in storage) and for replacing clothing, furnaces, sump pumps, air conditioners and re-construction materials, such as dry wall and lumber, that were damaged by flooding.
Eligible recipients must reside in or own a business in any New York county declared a federal disaster area. Tedisco’s measure would permit localities to voluntarily opt-in and give consumers a break on the local share of sales taxes.
“The devastating impact of Hurricane Irene on the lives of thousands of New Yorkers is heartbreaking. Too many people have had their lives torn apart losing their homes and businesses. It’s critical that our state continues to do everything in its power to help our neighbors rebuild. Eliminating sales taxes on the essentials for flood victims is one way New York State can help our fellow New Yorkers get back on their feet,” said Tedisco, former Minority Leader and current Assistant Minority Whip.
Given the statewide scope of the disaster and urgency of rebuilding the communities affected by flooding, Tedisco believes that unless the Governor can lift the sales taxes unilaterally an Extraordinary Session of the Legislature is necessary to pass a relief measure.
Tedisco also is calling on the Public Service Commission to protect consumers who were displaced from their homes from being held liable for paying any new phone, cable and power service charges until they can permanently move or return home. He has heard from constituents who are being told they have to pay landline phone services even though they cannot use the phone since they have been forced out of their home.
“If you have ever been a victim to losing your home due to flooding, you should not have to continue to pay for new services that you are not going to be using. This is a time to step up and help our neighbors, not take advantage of them,” said Tedisco.