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Lawmakers want to refund taxes

Tedisco, Farley propose bill to eliminate sales tax on flood recovery expenses

A sign thanking volunteers and emergency responders stands at the edge of a Rotterdam Junction resident’s front yard last week.

A sign thanking volunteers and emergency responders stands at the edge of a Rotterdam Junction resident’s front yard last week. Photo by John Purcell.

— Flood victims could have another reprieve for their wallet as two local state representatives seek to remove sales tax on items key to reaching normalcy again.

Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, and Senator Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, introduced legislation on Tuesday, Sept. 20, to eliminate state sales tax on “essentials” for victims of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. Sales tax credits are proposed for replacing sump pumps, furnaces, refrigerators, washers, dryers, dehumidifiers, boilers, furniture, construction material, clothing and moving expenses, including renting a truck and storage.

Tedisco said the influx of revenue coming from flood victim purchases was obviously not anticipated by state officials, so the state should not profit off families making needed purchases as they rebuild from the disasters.

“The state stands to earn a windfall in sales tax revenue from all the thousands of New Yorkers who must rebuild their lives. This is money that was not anticipated and would never have been part of the state coffers, therefore the state should not profit off the backs of the victims of these disasters,” said Tedisco in a statement.

Farley echoed Tedisco’s sentiment and said the state needs to help victims move on in any way possible.

“These storms have placed a severe burden on many families and businesses,” said Farley in a statement. “The state needs to assist these persons and their communities as they seek to recover and rebuild from this devastating natural disaster. This legislation will provide some needed relief to help these families and businesses move forward.”

Eligible recipients must reside in or own a business in any county declared a federal disaster area and must show proof of being a flood victim by being certified by an insurer or government official. U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced on Sept. 7 the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded Schenectady County public assistance to rebuild and repair infrastructure damaged by Irene.

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