Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a hotel occupancy tax into law hours before the Jan. 1 deadline for 14 Westchester municipalities, including Mount Kisco, North Castle and Harrison.
The tax, which is permitted in cities but not in towns and villages without 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 Mount Kisco, North Castle and Harrison 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 expenses 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 North Castle and Harrison, said he was pleased that I am pleased that these bills have been signed into law by Governor Cuomo.
With money tight as municipalities struggle to provide services while adhering to the tax cap, Cuomo’s signature on the local bills comes as welcome relief.
“The legislation gives several Westchester County municipalities another tool to control real property taxes by imposing modest user fees on hotels, motels and other transient type housing,” said Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich. “I thank Assemblyman David Buchwald, whose extensive local government experience is reflected in this bill.”
North Castle Supervisor Michael Schiliro has said that the law could generate anywhere from $80,000 to $120,000 a year in extra revenue generated by La Quinta Inn on Business Park Drive in Armonk, the town’s lone lodging facility. Town officials have mentioned they would apply that money to accelerate road repairs.
“The new law provides tax cap relief to our taxpayers as the new revenue will help improve our town’s infrastructure, specifically our roads,” Schiliro said in a statement. “Kudos to Assemblyman David Buchwald and Sen. George Latimer for their tireless efforts in providing tax relief to their North Castle constituents.”
Cuomo vetoed similar hotel occupancy tax bills last year for Harrison and North Castle and several other municipalities. There has been opposition from some business leaders who have contended the tax could curtail business 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 others around the United States that have a similar hotel occupancy tax have not seen a drop off in tourism or business travel.
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.