Onondaga County residents can expect to stop paying the 4% energy tax enacted during the pandemic earlier than expected. County Executive Ryan McMahon said now that the county has a better picture of the coronavirus’s economic impact, he believes it’s no longer necessary. The tax that was originally sent to sunset on November 30th, 2022 is expected to end sometime in 2021. McMahon said the county legislature will take up the issue in May, and it is likely to be supported.
“Then it goes to the New York State Tax and Finance. Then, the utility needs a little bit of time to stop collecting the surcharge,” said McMahon.
The residential energy sales tax had not been collected in Onondaga County since 1982 prior to the pandemic. The tax passed a split legislature in June as the county was facing a potential $20 million cut from the state on top of revenue lost caused by the economic shutdown. McMahon said now that they have certainty, they are able to reevaluate.
“The state cut didn’t happen at the rate we thought it was going to. Sales tax was trending, when we were doing this, at 20% loss year over year. It ended up being much less. We had a very strong Q4,” said McMahon.
McMahon said none of the county legislators that he has spoken to oppose the early repeal. The exact end date of the tax is still to be determined, but McMahon said it will be sometime in 2021.