WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- For a second straight summer, state lawmakers and local officials from 15 cities, towns and villages seeking new hotel and motel taxes await final approval from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Several locally sponsored bills were passed before the state legislature recessed last month. Like last year, if the legislation does not get Cuomo's signature, it will not become law. However, town and state elected officials said Friday that they believe the hotel/motel tax has the governor's support this year.
Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner has been pushing for a hotel/motel tax authorization in his town since 2009. "He hasn't signed the bill yet, but we're optimistic and hopeful," Feiner said of Cuomo's anticipated support.
If the bills are signed into law, most municipalities expect to begin collecting the 3 percent occupancy tax -- also called a "bed tax" -- on Jan. 1, 2017.
Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Abinanti and Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins secured the new bed tax for the Town of Greenburgh and villages of Tarrytown, Elmsford, Sleepy Hollow, Ardsley, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry and Hastings-on-Hudson.
Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman David Buchwald, D-White Plains, and Sen. George Latimer, D-Rye, gives the Village of Mount Kisco and the towns of Harrison and North Castle authority to collect the bed taxes at any new or existing hotels/motels. Local laws also must be passed to collect $3 on each $100 spent.
On Friday, Assemblyman Buchwald said, "The hotel tax bills have not been sent to the Governor for his signature yet. Typically, with many bills passed at the end of the legislative session, bills are sent to the Governor in sets over the course of weeks and months."
Harrison Mayor/Supervisor Ron Belmont said, "Other municipalities around New York State and in Westchester County have had a hotel tax for years. The expectation is that this tax will generate a substantial amount in new revenue and will assist the Town in maintaining municipal services while, at the same time, approving budgets that remain under the mandated New York State tax cap."
White Plains, New Rochelle, Rye and Rye Brook previously were granted state approval to collect hotel/motel bed taxes in legislation that requires annual extensions by the state legislature.
Assemblyman Steve Otis, a Rye Democrat, and Latimer sponsored legislation that allows a motel/hotel tax to be collected in Mamaroneck, Port Chester and New Rochelle. That bill also extends the taxing authority for the City of Rye and Village of Rye Brook.
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Democrat from Scarsdale, sponsored legislation that allows the motel/hotel tax to be collected in Tuckahoe and extended White Plains' bed tax.
And Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, a Democrat from Yonkers, sponsored the bill that permits motel/hotel occupancy tax to be collected in her hometown.
The Town of Greenburgh estimates that the occupancy tax will generate up to $1 million annually from about 2,000 hotel and motel rooms -- new revenue that will help the town comply with the property tax cap and address infrastructure needs such as paving roads and installing new sidewalks.
White Plains collects about $1 million a year in hotel taxes. New Rochelle projects $280,000 from the hotel tax. Rye expects to collect $150,000. Rye Brook, which has two marquee hotels in the Hilton Westchester and Doral Arrowwood, collects about $630,000 in annual occupancy taxes.