KINGSTON – State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Kingston) addressed the ongoing Ulster County sales tax dilemma at his Kingston office Tuesday afternoon. The briefing was attended by two deputy county executives who took exception to Cahill's position.
Last week, county and local officials slammed Cahill for tying up the sales tax extension bill with competing legislation.
On Tuesday, the assemblyman was critical of the way they attacked him.
“Is that good public policy?,” Cahill asked. “Is that the way to responsibly advance public policy? Is that the way to get me to the table to talk, because if they think it is, I think they have another thing coming.”
As a result of no vote being taken in the assembly before adjournment, the Ulster County sales tax rate risks dropping one percentage point, potentially costing local municipalities $22 million in revenue.
Local officials on both sides of the political aisle complain the shortfall might cripple essential services, and crush the Kingston city budget.
Cahill downplayed the urgency of the situation, explaining that his motivation is safety net reform and equity for Election Day expenses. Ulster is the only county in New York that passes safety net and balloting costs to the county and local municipalities.
He denied accusations of extortion and "hostage taking," over the sales tax flap.
"The state legislature does not uniformly pass sales tax without conditions," Cahill noted. "If that's what they said, then they are not telling the truth," Cahill said. "Maybe they don't know the truth, so I'm not going to call them liars. People should not act in public without a full set of information. "