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Legislators in Dutchess County voted to remove a tax exemption on Thursday night that could have a significant impact on county residents. YNN's Michael Howard has that story.
DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Judy Holsapple, 72, is a retired bookkeeper and has lived in Dutchess County for more than 50 years. She lives on a fixed income and often has trouble getting by.
“I’m going to see what I’m going to have to do to survive,” says Holsapple.
In a vote on Thursday night, the Dutchess County legislature passed the 2014 budget of $411 million in a 16 to 8 vote. The budget is estimated to cut spending by more than $1 million next year. However, it removes sales tax exemptions on residential energy sources, and places a 3.75 percent tax increase for county residents.
“It’s really going to be hard,” said Holsapple.
Her home heating bill is more than $600. With the tax increase she said she will have use additional cash in her fixed income.
“I’m adding more money onto it,” says Holsapple. “And on top of that, my Central Hudson bill will come in and that’s going to be more and then when I get propane gas.”
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “It is not something we want to do."
Molinaro and other legislators say they have no choice after needing $8 million in mandate relief to maintain optional services including 911 dispatch and road repairs.
“We are forced to either eliminate whole sections of county government, or provide the revenue and find the revenue to pay for those services that residents expect from us,” said Molinaro.
Holsapple says if county does not receive any type of relief before March 1, she’ll be forced to make some tough decisions.
“I have to pay my bills, there’s fuel to buy and there’s my medications and what am I going to have to give up? I’m going to have to give something up,” she said.
Legislators say they hope to receive mandate relief before the tax goes into effect on March 1.