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Monroe County Proposes Ways to Save Taxpayers Money

In the Community: News from the office of Monroe County Executive Adam Bello

Photo by RODNAE Productions: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-looking-the-tag-on-a-shirt-5698852/

Recently, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello has submitted several matters of urgency for action at the latest Monroe County Legislature meeting in hopes of helping County residents save money on essential clothing items and greatly expand property tax exemption eligibility for qualified senior citizens and those with disabilities and limited incomes.

“Clothing is as essential as food. With record inflation our residents need relief from the high costs of basic necessities like clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, coats and hats. The county will no longer charge sales tax on clothing sales up to $110,” said Bello. “We are also increasing the income eligibility for our most vulnerable residents — including those age 65 and older and for those with disabilities and limited incomes who often struggle to remain in their homes.”

The proposed sales tax exemption will eliminate the county’s 4% sales tax on clothing and footwear sold for less than $110 per item or pair. The items are already exempt from the New York State 4% sales and use-tax and counties may elect to provide the same exemption to take effect on March 1st of each year. Eliminating the county sales tax on clothing is estimated to save shoppers $12 million yearly and help local retailers attract more customers.

Sales tax exemption applies to purchases in local stores located in Monroe County and to online Purchases.

Legislature President Sabrina LaMar said she is proud to partner with the County and her Legislative colleagues to provide taxpayers relief, especially when representing a District that has many working class and low income families. “Sales taxes represent one of the most regressive forms of taxation, because they place a greater burden on people of limited means. Property taxes are also regressive.”

Two separate proposals would increase the income eligibility regarding real property tax exemptions granted to those age 65 and over and to persons with disabilities and limited income. Currently, for those age 65 and older, eligible income levels are from $29,000 to $37,400 yearly — with a 45% reduction at $29,000 and a graduated reduction in exemption for incomes more than $29,000 but less than $37,400.

For individuals with disabilities and limited income, the current eligible income levels for a property tax reduction are $26,000 to $34,400 yearly — with a 45% reduction at $26,000 and a
graduated reduction in exemption for incomes more than $26,000 but less than $34,400.

For both seniors and those with disabilities and limited income, the new limits will allow for a 50% property tax reduction for those with incomes up to $50,000 with a graduated reduction in exemption for incomes more than $50,000 but less than $58,400.

“As Republican Legislators, we are always proud when we can keep more money in the pockets of our families and taxpayers – where it belongs” said Majority Leader Steve Brew. “During these trying times of high costs and inflation, being able to save families hard-earned dollars on basic essentials like clothes, cutting taxes for our seniors who have built this community, and further protecting those with disabilities and low incomes, will go a long way.”

The county estimates at least an 11% increase in the numbers of residents who can take advantage of these significant savings. Residents seeking the property tax reduction have until March 1, 2023 to apply for the exemption and will need to reapply yearly. City of Rochester residents have until February 1, 2023 to apply and need to reapply yearly.

“Ensuring that something as essential as a “shirt on your back” is more affordable to every family in Monroe County is one of the many reasons I chose public service,” said Monroe County Legislature Minority Leader Yversha Roman. “In addition, many of Monroe County’s residents have struggled with current economic conditions, and it is our job to meet the challenges presented.

Roman said giving relief to people on fixed incomes, including seniors and our disabled citizens helps ensure they are able to stay in their homes and are not bearing the brunt of economic pressures.

“Thank you to the Monroe County Legislature for working together with the administration to reduce costs for our residents during tough economic times,” she said. “These important pieces of legislation will give much needed relief for many families including our most vulnerable citizens.”