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Will Tax Free Back-to-School Shopping Become A Reality Again This Summer?

Legislation to eliminate the county portion of sales tax in Putnam during 10 days in August, requested by Putnam County government, has been approved by the state Senate. This would mean shoppers enjoy an almost 50 percent sales tax reduction, from 8.38 percent to 4.38 percent (3/8 % is the MTA surcharge), when shopping in the county from August 20th-31st, for clothing and footwear under $110.

Due to high taxes and with Connecticut retail centers less than 20 minutes away, Putnam County retail businesses are up against the stiffest competition in New York State. Our retail stores rise to the occasion with excellent customer service and unique offerings. This sales tax free week would give them an edge on sales and be an effective “thank you” for their commitment to our county. However, the Assembly still needs to vote on the measure.

“We still need the Assembly to pass the bill,” says Putnam County Executive Maryellen Odell. “Putnam has requested the tax holiday in previous years, but it has not been OK’ed by the Assembly. This year, we hope they will vote in accordance with the needs of Putnam constituents.” The County Executive has made a major portion of her platform this year the continued revitalization and support of the Putnam business community. With strong efforts being undertaken in neighboring communities, we must not lose our focus on making sure area businesses have the best chance to succeed in an ever more challenging environment.

Of the total 8.38 percent sales tax rate in Putnam County, 4.38 percent of the generated revenue goes to the state and the MTA and the remaining 4 percent goes to the county. This bill would eliminate the local share during the 10-day period, dropping rates by almost half. County government and business leaders agree that we need this tax relief to maintain competitiveness at a crucial time of year.

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce

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