Saratoga County chair: No interest in sales tax hike

By Cathy DeDe, Chronicle Managing Editor

Phil Barrett, the Clifton Park Town Supervisor who chairs the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, says his county is unlikely to join Washington County and perhaps Warren County in any effort to raise the sales tax.

The Washington County Board expressed hope that Warren and Saratoga Counties would join it in pursuing a 1% county sales tax increase that would raise the total sales tax from 7% to 8%.

“It’s not something that we have discussed anytime recently,” Mr. Barrett tells The Chronicle.

“I don’t foresee Saratoga County moving forward with an attempt to increase our sales tax. It is my opinion that it would not have support on the Board of Supervisors, and I would not be in favor of it either.”

He noted, “I haven’t spoken to anybody from either county about this item.”

He said Saratoga County brings in about $171-million in sales tax revenue — some of which is distributed to the municipalities, based on population.

Total 2023 sales tax receipts, before distribution to municipalities, were about $73-million in Warren County and about $29.6-million in Washington County.

Last week, Warren County Chair Kevin Geraghty of Warrensburg told The Chronicle, “I think it’s time that we at least look at (raising the sales tax).”

He said he and County Administrator John Taflan had a “preliminary” conversation with Washington County about it.

The Washington County Board of Supervisors is considering raising the county sales tax to mitigate property taxes. Not all Board members are in agreement.

Currently only four counties in the state — Washington, Warren, Saratoga and Ontario — have sales tax rates under 8%. The rate is 7% in Washington, Warren and Saratoga counties.

In Ontario it’s 7.5%, but Washington County told The Chronicle Ontario is currently raising its rate to 8%.

The tax is comprised of a 4% state sales tax and whatever the local municipality puts on top of that. It’s 3% in Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties.

Any change requires a change in New York State law.

Mr. Barrett said, pre-Covid, Clifton Park pursued instituting an Occupancy Tax of less than 1%. “It passed the legislature, but (then-Governor) Andrew Cuomo vetoed it,” Mr. Barrett said.

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