The Sales Tax Inhibits Nano Success

2 January 2018

Editorial Page

Utica Observer-Dispatch

221 Oriskany Plaza

Utica, NY  13501

Dear Editors:

I read with great interest your recent editorial regarding making “2018 the year nano happens.”  While I agree with the sentiment entirely, I think the editorial left out two task items that must happen first.  Until these two tasks are accomplished, no year will be the year for nano.


The first, and larger item, is the sales tax.  Every business that wants to come here has to account for it in their planning.  You can give away as much property tax revenue as you feel worthwhile – leave the sales tax hanging out there and it is still an excuse to say “no”.


Maybe I should recast the argument since a couple of percentage points here or there will not always sound like a big deal.  I originally came here in 2013 looking to raise money to fight a proposed $2 bridge toll.  Newport attracts visitors who are at the upper end of the income spectrum.  These guests hate feeling like they are being nickeled and dimed regardless of the amount.  They were ready to travel elsewhere.


Our sales tax works the same way.  If your bottle of soda is $2.19 where you live, you usually hand over $2.20 and tell the clerk to “keep the penny in case anyone needs it.”  When you get here, you get charged $2.21 and when you hand the clerk three singles, you get all this change back including a bunch of pennies.  It is only a lowly two cents but the nickeled and dimed feeling lingers.


The smaller issue is advertising our talents.  We all know how much talent is here.  I can tell you from running Art on Utica that many of our guests only know us from negative headlines and are always pleasantly surprised when they discover a “gem”.  Getting over our self-esteem problem is the second task.





Robert T. Oliveira

Clark Mills, NY  13501



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