Internet Sales Tax Capture Effort Stalled in Albany

March 23, 2018. The expansion of the sales tax on cyberspace transactions was projected to raise $160 million for the state treasury and another $160 million for county governments, many of which split portions of their share with towns, villages and cities.

The proposal, advanced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his executive budget, was blocked by Senate Republicans, who have been adamant they will not approve new taxes this year.

 The Retail Council of New York State, representing brick-and-mortar stores throughout the state, is one of the prime backers of the Internet tax, contending it would level the playing field by knocking out what amounts to an 8 percent pricing edge that online sellers have in competing with traditional stores.
Cuomo and legislative leaders met in private Thursday afternoon at the Governor’s Mansion. There was no immediate indication that any significant progress was being made in the attempt to produce an on-time spending plan.
Several revenue-generating measures called for by Cuomo have met resistance from the Senate Republicans, noted Ronald Deutsch, director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a labor-backed advocacy group that supports personal-income-tax increases on New York’s wealthiest individuals.

“It seems pretty clear that the Senate isn’t interested in any of them,” said Deutsch. “I’m not sure how we are going to come up with the money to close the budget gap.”

The Cuomo administration has said the state is facing a $4 billion gap going into the coming fiscal year.

Both Deutsch and E.J. McMahon, the research director for the Empire Center, agreed that lawmakers should analyze Cuomo’s proposals thoroughly before approving them along with other budget legislation.

“There is no reason that they have to be done in the budget,” Deutsch said.

 

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