White Plains, NY — At a special meeting on Monday morning, the Westchester County Board of Legislators, in a unanimous, bi-partisan vote of 12-0, adopted a one-percent increase in the County's sales tax rate, a measure which was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany on Sunday.

The measure will go into effect August 1.

The additional sales tax is expected to generate about $68 million in new revenue in 2019, about $20 million of which will go to local municipalities and school districts. In 2020, the measure should generate around $129 million in new revenue, $39 million of which will go to local municipalities and school districts.

Even after the change, Westchester will be among the quarter of the counties in the state with the lowest sales tax rates, and will be at parity with rates in neighboring counties

The measure will not impact the sales tax rates in Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle or Mount Vernon. Those cities have sales tax rates that already are at or above the new 8 3/8 percent rate that will be in effect August 1 in the rest of county.

Board Chairman Ben Boykin (D - White Plains, Scarsdale, Harrison), said, "We appreciate the Governor signing the legislation that was approved by the New York State Senate and Assembly. The new, recurring, non-property tax revenue it will generate will help us stabilize the County's finances, rebuild our fund balance, and continue to deliver essential services to our residents, while mitigating the burden on property taxpayers."

Majority Leader Catherine Parker (D - Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye) said, "Nobody likes tax increases, but this is responsible and bi-partisan way to balance our county budget without dipping deeper and deeper into our rainy day funds or using one-shot revenues. Most importantly, we can alleviate some of the pressure on property taxpayers by providing millions to school districts and local governments that otherwise would have had to come from school and local property taxes.”

Legislator Catherine Borgia (D- Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill), Chair of the Board's Budget and Appropriations Committee said, “Westchester County’s structural budget gap had forced us to drain our fund balance to about half of what it had been just a few years ago. Continuing down that path would have been worse than irresponsible; it would have been disastrous. By increasing revenue opportunities without relying so heavily on property taxes, we can say we’ve taken an important step in strengthening the County’s fiscal health for this year and for the future.”

Legislator Margaret Cunzio (C - Mount Pleasant, North Castle, Pleasantville) said, “The sales tax brings Westchester County to an equitable level of neighboring counties. The sales tax is also shared with the school districts and the municipalities. It is important to try to get additional revenue for the schools and the municipalities to keep the taxes lower in both those areas.”

The Board is constantly working with the County Executive to reduce the burden on the county's property taxpayers. These include reducing county costs -- such as saving $20 million over five years in the new contract with Liberty Lines to operate the county's buses; increasing economic development -- such as the recently signed lease for the $1.2 billion North 60 biotech development; and developing a robust shared services plan with projected recurring savings of as much as $27 million for the county, local municipalities and school districts.