Senator Oppenheimer Applauds State Sales Tax Exemption On Clothing And Footwear

Suzi Oppenheimer

April 24, 2006

Senator Suzi Oppenheimer (D-Mamaroneck) reported that New Yorkers will no longer have to pay the State sales tax on purchases of clothing and footwear $110 or less, as of April 1 of this year. On that date, New York joined Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont in exempting clothing from the sales tax base.

"The Senate Minority have worked for years on this very important piece of tax relief," said Senator Oppenheimer. "We promised the people of this state that we would eliminate this sales tax and today, we make good on that promise.

"New Yorkers can shop with confidence, knowing that they will be able to keep more money in their pockets," Senator Oppenheimer said. "At the same time, stores should benefit from an influx of shoppers that will be taking advantage of their increased buying power. More importantly, the money spent by consumers and received by storeowners will remain here in New York, instead of going over the border to neighboring states."

In 2003 Governor Pataki suspended the sales tax exemption, and since then the Senate Minority has fought to have it reinstated. For the last three years, the Governor sought to replace the exemption with two sales tax-free shopping weeks in this year’s budget.

"The Governor’s proposal was actually a tax increase, costing working families more than $600 million over time," Senator Oppenheimer said. "What I have been saying for years is that those hardest hit by the sales tax are the ones who could least afford it. So, the vast majority of middle- and lower-class residents would bear the burden of a regressive tax on even the most basic items, like shoes and clothing.

"A family with an income of less than $15,000 a year pays 9.5% of their income in sales tax," said Senator Oppenheimer. "On the other hand, the top one percent of taxpayers with incomes over $634,000 pay only 1.2% of their income in sales tax. That’s not fair and it’s why my fellow Senate colleague and I never gave up the fight to permanently lift the State sales tax. I am proud of our efforts to ensure that hardworking New Yorkers get the tax relief they deserve."