Sales Taxes, Yates County and Tax Sharing

In New York State we are quite familiar with sales taxes.  In Yates County all retail services collect 8%, with a portion going to the State and a portion going to the County, and that is where the problem lies.   Yates County is one of the handful of counties out of 62 that does not share in tax revenues.  So how does that hurt economic development? 

For example the Village of Penn Yan sits as the seat of Yates County.  It is here that you will find all of th County sites such as the Sheriffs Dept, the County Jail, the Yates County business offices and of course the County Courts along with many other departments.  These components of government all need tax dollars to continue their operations.

Lets follow this scenario: A developer is interested in investing in the Village, by developing some of the vacant land.  The new business is created, and it creates new tax revenues.  Great – right ?  The developer is asking for some assistance in the beginning stages with tax relief.  OK, so far, so good.  The business gets going, the Village increases the delivery load for the additional water and sewer needs ( at a cost to Village tax payers), and tax revenues  are collected.  The County benefits, and the Village struggles.  Why ?  Well all of the increases in the logistics of a new business cause additional costs for the Village and there is no compensation from the County.  The property tax payers in the Village now have to make up for those additional costs. 

So why would any taxpayer in the County want or worry about new businesses coming to Penn Yan or to any of the towns ? There is no incentive unless you are a business that will benefit from the new business by receiving additional exposure.  Every new business in the County creates a new tax burden for the individual property owners via their property taxes in their respective town/village.

Those retail tax dollars could be used for the Main Streets in the different Villages, but are not.  The new tax revenues could be spread out to give property owners some needed tax relief. 

With tax sharing the way it is, I can now understand after all of the years that I have lived in Yates County, why so many are against any changes.  To them change will mean additional tax burdens, when it should be the opposite.

Lets hope all of the Towns and Villages can get together and work out a tax sharing program.  This will be the only way that Yates County can be progressive with economic development without additional tax burdens placed on the individual property owners. Our village main streets really should be showcases of what a small town can look like and not what we should be hiding.  Take a look at the villages in Steuben County.  The tax revenues are shared and the villages are able to share in the success of tax dollars. 


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Mary St. George