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County looks to keep 8% sales tax rate

Pictured are members of the Chautauqua County Legislature’s Administrative Services Committee.

Chautauqua County’s sales tax is currently 8%. It appears that will remain for at least the next three years.

During this week’s Administrative Services Committee meeting, legislators unanimously agreed to a request to extend the current sales tax rate until November 2023.

“This would extend the additional 1 percent that our county has had for three years,” explained Steve Abdella, county attorney.

According to the state Department of Taxation and Finance’s website, out of 62 counties in the state, 42 have a sales tax rate of 8%, including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Four percent goes to the state while the remainder goes to the county. By comparison, Erie County’s sales tax rate is 8.75% and Allegany County’s sales tax rate is 8.5%.

The highest sales tax rate in New York is in Kings, Queens, New York, Richmond and Bronx counties which are 8.875%. The lowest sales tax rate is in Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties, which have a sales tax rate of 7%. Counties must seek permission from the state legislature in order to have a higher sales tax rate than 7%.

“I know from a fiscal standpoint, there is a concerns about sales tax revenue and general state aid going forward for the remainder of 2020 and 2021. This speaks to the need for the county to continue the status quo with its sales tax to try to keep the revenues where they have been hopefully, still with all those concerns,” said Abdella.

According to the approved resolution, Chautauqua County has had an 8% sales tax rate since Dec. 1, 2015.

The resolution will also be reviewed by the county legislature’s Audit and Control Committee and will eventually go to the full county legislature to be voted on during its July 22 meeting.

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