Getting a mortgage in Warren County is going to be a little bit cheaper starting Dec. 1 after the state Legislature failed to pass a bill that would extend the county’s mortgage tax.
The state permission for the tax expires as of Dec. 1, and a bill that would extend it for Warren County and three other counties did not make it through the state Legislature this year. Those bills are generally boilerplate and the tax has been extended numerous times in the past. But this year the bill was attached to another bill that did not make it to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office for a signature for an unspecified reason.
So while county leaders have gotten pledges that the Legislature will act on the bill early next year, Warren County will not be able to impose the 0.25 percent local mortgage tax until it does. (The tax is imposed at the time a mortgage is recorded by the county clerk.)
The other counties that were affected by the legislative inaction were Essex, Greene and Cattaraugus.
The tax was expected to bring in between $800,000 and $900,000 in Warren County this year, so the county stands to miss out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue until the bill is passed again.
County leaders knew earlier this fall that the bill had not passed when the 2019 budget was put together, so budget officer Frank Thomas, the supervisor from Stony Creek, factored the anticipated loss of revenue into the budget.
County Clerk Pam Vogel said the lapse was not the result of any error at the county level.
“It’s nothing we, your office or my office, did,” she told county supervisors Thursday. “The county did the work by submitting the proper paperwork to the proper people to prepare for the renewal process by the state Legislature.”
County Administrator Ryan Moore said his office has been in communication with state officials about the issue, and was told the bill to reinstate the tax could get through by March 1, or with the 2019-20 state budget in the spring.
“We just don’t know, it will depend on how the new state Senate leadership handles it,” he said.
He said the county can pass a local law that will help speed up the process, but there appeared to be little hope of the process moving faster than getting the tax back in place by mid- to late winter.
State Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, said it his understanding that the bill will be among the “local bills” that did not make it through the Legislature this year but will be “handled” in January, when the new legislative session begins.
Until then, those who get mortgages in Warren County will be saving a few hundred or even thousands of dollars. For instance, a $100,000 mortgage would generate $250 in local mortgage tax that won’t have to be be paid by the mortgage holder.