Nassau passes home heating tax

November 22, 2010 9:35:02 AM PST
Heating a home is about to get more expensive for people living in Nassau County. The Legislature there is imposing a 2.5 percent tax on home heating sources, everything from gas to firewood. The move comes after the county just raised property taxes, and residents are not happy with the added tax.

If you live in Nassau County, heating your home has been a tax-free part of your lifestyle. But now, if you choose to heat your home, you should plan ahead for an extra cost after Nassau legislators narrowly voted in a county tax on your bill.

Heating your home can be expensive, and in bitter cold winters it is even pricier. The result is the need for oil, if that's how you choose to stay warm. But now no matter how you do it, it's going to cost Nassau residents more.

Demetrious Kanetis owns a home in Mineola and says he can't believe the timing of this home heating tax.

"People are out of work, out of jobs," he said. "We are being taxed up the wazoo. Let's face it. What else can they possibly do to us?"

Legislator Judy Jacobs, the budget review chairperson, says she voted for the home heating tax, as did all 10 Democrats. The nine Republicans opposed it.

Here are some details of the variance:

The county will tax residents 2.5 percent for heating sources, costing the average homeowner about $95 a year in this tax, according to the Long Island Oil Heat Institute.

The tax will be listed on your electric bill and also appear on other means of heating the home, whether it be gas, propane or firewood.

"Every county around us has done it," Jacobs said. "They all opted in in the 80s."

Legislator Peter Schmitt Vehemently opposes the home heating tax, despite it being a longtime reality in neighboring Suffolk County and in New York City.

"This is on the heels of a property tax increase in January, now a heating tax," he said. "I can't wait to see March."

While supporters say the tax will generate about $40 million a year in Nassau County and possibly save area parks and other services from the chopping block, Schmitt says it's not taxpayers' responsibility to offset a so-called fiscal crisis by paying more for the bare necessities, like staying warm.

"It's not an option," he said. "You don't have the option to not heat your house."

"Property taxes and school taxes alone are driving people out of this county," one resident said. )

The home heating tax is expected to take effect June 1.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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