Bipartisan bill would give restaurants, taverns a one-week sales tax exemption

Legislative Gazette photo by Emily Mortensen
A one-week sales tax vacation for local mom-and-pop eateries and taverns has been proposed to provide a financial break as COVID cases spread and shutdowns and business restrictions loom.

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara and Senator Daphne Jordan have introduced a bill to give mom and pop, locally owned restaurants one full week of state sales tax exemptions to give them a financial boost heading into the winter.

The bipartisan “Save Our NYS Restaurants Act” would establish a one-week sales tax exemption for food and drinks sold at restaurants and taverns.

“This new measure will provide a much-needed boost for small businesses that are owned and operated by our neighbors and friends,” said Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam. “Helping restaurant owners increase their revenue will help ease the burden they’re facing during these difficult times.”

With COVID cases on the rise in most regions of New York, shutdowns may be inevitable in the near future and many restaurants will struggle to stay afloat.

“These restaurants and taverns often have deep, strong roots in the local community, support countless charitable causes, and provide tens of thousands of jobs,” said Sen. Jordan, R-Halfmoon. “Angelo and I have heard from countless small businesses that are literally on the brink of closure because of the pandemic.”

This sales tax holiday would only apply to in-person dine-in, takeout and delivery, so customers can support their local establishments in a safe and responsible manner.

Fast food chains would not be eligible for the sales tax exemptions, the lawmakers said.

Other bills introduced this year established a credit that can be applied on the renewal of an establishment’s liquor license (Assembly Bill A.10563/Senate Bill S.8452), and also allow businesses with on-premise alcohol licenses to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption (Assembly Bill A.10550/Senate Bill S.8392).