Effective March 1, Dutchess County residents are now paying an additional 3.75 percent county tax on energy sources and services. This includes: electric, heating oil, propane, firewood and the service to the equipment that provides these sources of necessary comfort in our homes.
This new tax, combined with a rate increase from Central Hudson, is going to be a hardship for many residents in Dutchess County.
I share your frustration and outrage.
Page 281 of the Dec. 5 minutes for the County Legislature (see county website) will show you who voted in favor and against this new tax. Do not be fooled by a “no” vote on the resolution. If legislators voted for the budget as a whole, then they voted for this new tax.
All members of the legislative majority, with the exception of one, voted in favor of the budget and this reinstated tax. All members of the legislative minority voted against.
I find it more than a little disingenuous that the blame is placed on the legislature in Albany. There was an amendment to this resolution that stated:
“A special meeting of the Dutchess County Legislature will be called to repeal this action upon the passage of mandate relief from the New York State Legislature and Governor that removes the need for this exemption to be repealed.”
This amendment holds county residents hostage, and we are required to pay our own ransom!
These unfunded mandates have been in place for decades. Let’s do a thorough review of the history and find out what previous elected officials did to relieve the burden on all counties and taxpayers throughout the state.
I am in support of finding ways to ease the burden of unfunded mandates, but it is my philosophy that we should work with our leaders in Albany and Washington, D.C. Playing the blame game does not work and is a disservice to the people we represent.
County Legislator, Town of Red Hook