NY Gov. Cuomo extends county 911 phone tax for 10 years
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law extending the extra 65-cent surcharge per wired line number through 2029
By Mark Weiner
Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.
NEW YORK — A temporary tax on landline telephones in Onondaga County was supposed to expire Sunday, 10 years after lawmakers approved it to pay for a countywide 911 emergency radio system.
But now the tax will live on for at least another decade.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law this weekend extending the extra 65-cent surcharge per wired line number through 2029.
A bill to extend the tax sponsored by state Sen. Rachel May, D-Syracuse, and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, D-Syracuse, sailed through the state Legislature in June with almost no opposition.
The Onondaga County Legislature voted 17-0 on July 2 to extend the tax, generating an extra $1.2 million per year.
When the tax took effect in 2009, it increased the monthly 911 surcharge per landline number from 35 cents to $1 per month. The tax applies to up to 75 lines for a single customer in a single location. Lifeline customers, public safety agencies and municipalities are exempt.
The local surcharge on wired lines is separate from the 911 “service fee” that cell phone users pay to New York state each month.
Onondaga County officials say the extra money from the landline tax will be used to help maintain and upgrade the county’s 911 system.
When the tax began in 2009, it was expected to generate about $17 million over a decade to help pay for a $36 million upgrade of the county’s emergency 911 system.
The project included the construction of three new signal towers, new equipment at the county’s 911 center and the purchase of 5,000 digital radios.
The New York Senate voted 60-2 to pass the surcharge. State Sen. Bob Antonacci, R-Onondaga, cast one of the two “no” votes with Sen. Andrew Lanza, R-Staten Island.
©2019 Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.