Monroe County Executive Adam Bello Proposes County Sales Tax Exemption on Clothing and Increasing Income Eligibility for Property Tax Exemptions for Seniors and Those With Disabilities

January 10th, 2023

Clothing purchases under $110 exempted from County sales tax

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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello submitted several matters of urgency for action at tonight’s Monroe County Legislature meeting that will help Monroe County residents save money on essential clothing items and greatly expand property tax exemption eligibility for qualified senior citizens and those with disabilities and limited incomes.

“Clothing is as essential as food. With record inflation our residents need relief from the high costs of basic necessities like clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, coats and hats. The county will no longer charge sales tax on clothing sales up to $110,” said Monroe County Executive Bello. “We are also increasing the income eligibility for our most vulnerable residents — including those age 65 and older and for those with disabilities and limited incomes who often struggle to remain in their homes. Thank you to the Monroe County Legislature for working together with the administration to reduce costs for our residents during tough economic times.”

The proposed sales tax exemption eliminates the county’s 4% sales tax on clothing and footwear sold for less than $110 per item or pair. These items are already exempt from the New York State 4% sales and use-tax and counties may elect to provide the same exemption to take effect on March 1st of each year. Eliminating the county sales tax on clothing is estimated to save shoppers $12 million yearly and help local retailers attract more customers. The sales tax exemption applies to purchases in local stores located in Monroe County and to online purchases.

Two separate proposals would increase the income eligibility regarding real property tax exemptions granted to those age 65 and over and to persons with disabilities and limited income. Currently, for those age 65 and older, eligible income levels are from $29,000 to $37,400 yearly — with a 45% reduction at $29,000 and a graduated reduction in exemption for incomes more than $29,000 but less than $37,400.

For individuals with disabilities and limited income, the current eligible income levels for a property tax reduction are $26,000 to $34,400 yearly — with a 45% reduction at $26,000 and a graduated reduction in exemption for incomes more than $26,000 but less than $34,400.

For both seniors and those with disabilities and limited income, the new limits will allow for a 50% property tax reduction for those with incomes up to $50,000 with a graduated reduction in exemption for incomes more than $50,000 but less than $58,400.

The county estimates at least an 11% increase in the numbers of residents who can take advantage of these significant savings. County residents seeking the property tax reduction have until March 1, 2023 to apply for the exemption and will need to reapply yearly. City of Rochester residents have until February 1, 2023 to apply and need to reapply yearly.

“I represent a District that has many working class and low income families”, Legislature President Sabrina LaMar said. “Sales taxes represent one of the most regressive forms of taxation, because they place a greater burden on people of limited means. Property taxes are also regressive. For these reasons, I am proud to partner with County Executive Bello and my colleagues in the Legislature as we announce tax cuts that will provide immediate relief to all Monroe County families, especially our seniors, people with disabilities and those at the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum.”

"As Republican Legislators, we are always proud when we can keep more money in the pockets of our families and taxpayers - where it belongs. Today's announcement of one new and two expanded tax cuts will directly impact the day-to-day wallets of all members of this community," said Majority Leader Steve Brew. "During these trying times of high costs and inflation, being able to save families hard-earned dollars on basic essentials like clothes, cutting taxes for our seniors who have built this community, and further protecting those with disabilities and low incomes, will go a long way. Republican Legislators are proud to unanimously co-sponsor all three of these important actions.”

"These important pieces of legislation, will give much needed relief for many families including our most vulnerable citizens. Ensuring that something as essential as a “shirt on your back” is more affordable to every family in Monroe County is one of the many reasons I chose public service,” said Monroe County Legislature Minority Leader Yversha Roman. “In addition, many of Monroe County’s residents have struggled with current economic conditions, and it is our job to meet the challenges presented. Giving relief to people on fixed incomes, including seniors and our disabled citizens helps ensure they are able to stay in their homes and are not bearing the brunt of economic pressures. I am proud to support this package of legislation and I urge all my colleagues to support it as well.”

"Repealing the sales tax on clothing and shoes under $110 is a huge win for working families. It eliminates a regressive tax that disproportionately impacts families with lower incomes and helps put a fundamental need within reach for thousands,” said Monroe County Legislator Albert Blankley. “I'm grateful to the County Executive and my colleagues in the Legislature for eagerly moving ahead with this important relief for the people of Monroe County."

The sales tax and property tax relief plans are expected to be voted on at tonight’s meeting of the Monroe County Legislature.