County Legislators Seek Bi-Partisan Repeal of County Energy Tax

PRESS RELEASE

New City, NY  (March 11, 2014) – Rockland County Legislators have initiated the first step toward elimination of Rockland’s energy tax, a 4 percent tax added to the cost of electricity and natural gas consumed by customers purchasing those services from Orange & Rockland Utilities.

Chairman of the Legislature Alden H. Wolfe, Deputy Minority Leader Frank Sparaco, and Legislators Ilan Schoenberger and Aron Wieder have sponsored a resolution to repeal the tax, which was first levied in September of 2012 as County government developed additional revenue streams to close a budget deficit gap.

“Based on what appears to be better financial projections in our nation and region, I feel that it’s the right time to find ways to lessen the tax burden on Rockland taxpayers,” said Chairman Wolfe.  “A roll back of the energy tax is one way to assure residents that we are making good on our pledge that this would only be a temporary tax. I look forward to working out the details of this bipartisan initiative and am optimistic it will be approved by our colleagues.”

Legislator Ilan Schoenberger said, “When this law was passed, it was only intended to be temporary until the County was able to resolve its financial difficulties and although those issues are not fully resolved, major steps have been taken.  Now that we are moving forward its fine to give serious consideration to the elimination of this tax.”

Legislator Aron Wieder, Majority Leader added, “ When we introduced this law I asked for the sunset clause amendment, which was approved.  Now that we see we have tackled the deficit, it is the right thing to do to repeal this law as it was intended.”

Legislator Frank Sparaco, Deputy Minority Leader said, “We are moving forward in a bi-partisan manner to repeal this archaic tax, which is a burden on all of Rockland County and its taxpayers.  The imminent sale of Summit Park Nursing Home and Hospital, the transfer of mental health  and pre-natal services to Nyack Hospital, the elimination of the Department of Tourism, as well as the deficit bond, eliminates the need for this tax.  I am proud to stand with my colleagues to undo this onerous tax.”

The resolution will appear on the upcoming agenda of the Budget and Finance Committee.  All legislature committee meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.  Meetings take place in the legislature’s chambers in the Rockland County Office Building, 11 New Hempstead Rd., New City, NY.  To obtain information on this or other committee meeting schedules and agendas, please visit www.rocklandgov.com,  click on County Legislature and follow link to Committee Agendas or call 845-638-5100.