The White Plains Examiner

Cuomo Signs Hotel Occupancy Tax Bill for Harrison

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By Martin Wilbur and Pat Casey

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a hotel occupancy tax into law hours before the Jan. 1 deadline for 14 Westchester municipalities, including Harrison, Mount Kisco and North Castle.

The tax, which is permitted in cities but not in towns and villages without state legislation, allows the host community to levy up to a 3 percent tax at hotels and motels, money that would go into the local coffers.

Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains) sponsored the legislation for Harrison, Mount Kisco and North Castle and since they are in his district. He said Tuesday the municipalities will now be able to use the extra revenue to cut taxes or pay for services such as road repairs.

“I would like to thank Gov. Cuomo for signing these bills into law, especially since he vetoed them last year,” Buchwald said. “The state legislature and our local governments came together and united to reduce reliance on property taxes to the relief of local residents. This is a victory for the people of Harrison, Mount Kisco and North Castle.”

State. Sen. George Latimer (D-Rye), who was the Senate sponsor of the bills for Harrison and North Castle, said he was pleased that Cuomo provided his approval this year. The governor vetoed similar bills last year for Harrison and North Castle and several other municipalities.

There had been opposition from some business leaders who have contended the tax could curtail travel to Westchester communities.

However, supporters of the bill countered that other municipalities throughout Westchester, including White Plains and Rye Brook, as well as many other locations around the United States that have a similar hotel occupancy tax, have not seen a drop off in tourism or business travel.

With money tight as municipalities struggle to maintain services while complying with the tax cap, Cuomo’s signature on the local bills comes as welcome relief.

Harrison’s Supervisor/Mayor Ron Belmont said, “This occupancy tax will give Harrison an alternative revenue source and provide property tax relief to our residents. The added proceeds would not only allow Harrison to make local, tourism related infrastructure investments, it would also offset increased traffic and public safety needs. I would like to thank Assemblyman David Buchwald and Senator George Latimer for their strong leadership and continued efforts in helping to pass this very important bill.”

Specifically, the Renaissance Westchester Hotel on West Red Oak Lane, the Hyatt House on Westchester Avenue, and the Westchester Country Club on North Street, all in Harrison will be affected.

The other communities in Westchester that can also levy the tax are Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Greenburgh, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Mamaroneck, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown and Tuckahoe.

Paul Feiner, Greenburgh Town Supervisor said, “The tax will generate about a million dollars a year in additional revenue to unincorporated Greenburgh. We have been pushing for the legislation since 2009.”

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