Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that the 2019-2020 state budget includes measures that will provide resources for local governments to provide essential services without increasing the burden on taxpayers. Furthermore, the budget makes the two percent property tax cap, which has been in place since 2011, permanent.
Local municipalities provide essential services for their residents, and their ability to do so without increasing the property tax burden is a challenge, said Assemblymember Wallace. They rely on state revenue to help offset costs without raising taxes. Thats why Ive advocated for resources that will help ensure our local municipalities have the resources they need while keeping property taxes in check.
Aid and Incentives to Municipalities Program
Wallace has been outspoken on the need to fund AIM (known as Aid and Incentives to Municipalities Program) to towns and villages. The 2019 Executive Budget proposal had proposed eliminating AIM funding for most towns and villages across New York State, including:
- Town of Cheektowaga: - $820,898
- Town of Lancaster: - $121,895
- Village of Depew: - $213,280
- Village of Lancaster: - $152,209
Statewide, the proposed cuts would have represented a $58 million loss to municipalities. When those cuts were initially proposed, Wallace sounded the alarm, held a roundtable meeting with local elected officials to bring attention to the impact of those cuts, and advocated in Albany for the restoration of AIM funding.
Im happy to announce that the enacted 2019-2020 budget fully funds AIM, said Wallace, It was simply unacceptable that my Assembly district stood to lose over $1.3 million in state aid, which is why I made AIM funding a top priority throughout the budget negotiations.
Internet Sales Tax
Local municipalities will see additional revenue in the form of internet sales tax collections. Under the new program, tax on internet purchases will be collected similarly to purchases made at brick-and-mortar stores across New York State.
Whenever you purchase an item over the internet, sales tax will be added to your purchase the same way it would if you had purchased that item at a local retailer, said Wallace. This will allow local brick-and-mortar stores the opportunity to compete more fairly with online retailers, thereby driving more sales to businesses in our community.
The online sales tax will be remitted to the state for distribution to the local counties and municipalities. The collection of internet sales tax is projected to result in $160 million annually for localities, which includes the $58 million needed to fund AIM.
Funding for Electronic Poll Books and Early Voting
Earlier this year, the state Legislature and governor passed new election reforms to increase voter participation in elections. Wallace announced that several voting measures received funding in the 2019-2020 state budget to assist local boards of election with implementing the new programs.
Early voting and updated poll books will allow for greater participation in our democracy, said Wallace. But we didnt want local municipalities to bear the brunt of implementing these changes. Accordingly, the state budget allocates $10 million for early voting in New York State, and $14.7 million for counties to acquire electronic poll books, which will help to streamline the voting process and ensure records are updated and accurate. Starting this year, New Yorkers will have nine days before any general, primary, or special election to cast their vote.
Permanent Two Percent Property Tax Cap
The state budget makes the two percent property tax cap permanent. Wallace noted that her office had received calls, emails, and letters from constituents voicing their support for making the property tax cap permanent.
Over the past few years, New York homeowners and small businesses have come to rely on the property tax cap as a way to predict their expenses year over year and to hold government spending in check. By making the property tax permanent, we are letting residents know that we hear you and we are responsive to your concerns.