Poughkeepsie….Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced today the 2007 Dutchess County budget he will complete shortly and release Wednesday, November 1 will freeze the full value tax rate for the county government share of the property tax bill.
Currently, the 2006 county government tax rate is $2.57 per thousand of full market value. Steinhaus said the rate in the 2007 Executive Budget will remain the same at $2.57, which is the lowest county tax rate in Dutchess records available back to 1973.
The Executive said, “In the development of any budget, my fundamental priority has always been to be cost-conscious, limiting unnecessary spending growth in order to protect the overburdened property taxpayer. The 2007 Dutchess budget will reflect the lowest property tax rate since 1973 when records are available and, for comparison, that’s when a first-class stamp cost $.08 cents and a gallon of gasoline cost $.39! Keeping this historically low tax rate for the second year in a row shows my strong commitment to controlling property taxes.”
Steinhaus noted, “We are able to freeze the tax rate, in part, because our economic development agenda has been successful in expanding the Dutchess tax base by another $4 billion dollars this past year and almost $11 billion dollars over the past three years. Job growth has continued, businesses have expanded, new companies have moved into Dutchess and most sectors of the economy have been successful. Although softening in some economic sectors has occurred, the housing market with new construction and higher values has also contributed to a larger tax base and compounding investment in the Dutchess economy over the recent years.”
The four-term County Executive said, “To keep the 2007 county property tax rate frozen, county government will be unable to continue to waive the 3.75% sales tax on clothing sales under $110. Presented with the unpleasant choice of either the property tax rate going up or putting an end to the discretionary sales tax waiver – I rejected a higher property tax rate. Given the choice of layoffs of county employees, such as 911 dispatchers, sheriff patrols, senior citizen caseworkers, snow plow operators or others providing essential county services, or putting an end to the discretionary sales tax waiver on clothing, I rejected layoffs of county workers who provide the very services our residents depend upon.”
Steinhaus added, “When the Dutchess County Legislature has an opportunity to review the entire 2007 Executive budget after it’s submitted to them next week, I am hopeful they will support my proposal to freeze the county government property tax rate and keep it at a level lower than any time in the last 34 years. Beleaguered property taxpayers have had enough.” Another option for legislators, of course, is the choice to raise the property tax rate rather than end the exemption of sales tax on clothing sales under $110. Swapping the reinstatement of sales tax for an increase on the property tax rate would increase the rate by 6% to an estimated $2.73 per thousand.
An advantage to an end to the exemption for sales tax on clothing under $110 will be added revenue for all local governments, thereby providing funds to enable towns, cities and villages to lower local government property taxes for homeowners and businesses. Dutchess County government has a policy of sharing sales tax revenues with local municipalities, which has provided additional revenue to localities since 1989.
The County Executive’s proposed budget will be released by November 1. The County Legislature is expected to begin review of the budget in early November and will adopt the budget in December.