NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Rockland County residents are blowing off steam over a new residential energy tax passed to help close a budget gap.
Is it an electrifying new way to raise local revenue or a new way to electrocute taxpayers?
The answer depends on who you ask.
“We have now in the budget, which has to be balanced, a $14 million dollar hole. So the energy tax is a sales tax on energy,” Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
“The energy tax hurts senior citizens and unfortunately poor people the most — that can’t afford and they can’t go somewhere else. It’s not like a sales tax where they cold go to Jersey and shop and buy gas. These people have to heat their homes,” said Rockland County legislator Frank Sparaco.
But whether they need to keep warm in the winter or cool in the summer or just turn their lights on, Rockland County residents will soon be paying more to do it.
Gaping budget deficits forced the legislature to pass a new 4 percent residential energy use tax on electricity, oil and anything that creates power.
The tax on a monthly energy bill of $550 would be about $22 dollars and $264 annually. For the most part, local residents are giving the new tax the cold shoulder.
“They’re going to tax our air pretty soon. Somebody’s going to come along with a gauge. ‘Ok you got $20 worth of air today.’ You know, it’s not good,” said New City resident Bill Archacki.
“We’re paying enough tax as it is in this county and I think that better management by the legislature and the executive could have avoided the problems we’re facing,” said James Carlin.
“We have to do something about this deficit. Everybody’s got to pitch in and do their share,” Rosemarie Viggiano said.
Local lawmakers aren’t done sticking it to taxpayers. On June 19th they’ll hold a hearing so they can hit drivers with a motor vehicle surcharge of ten to twenty dollars.