NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Westchester County Executive George Latimer has a magic lamp.
He is certain that if he rubs his magic lamp long enough and hard enough then you will believe he has turned a massive 14% tax increase into a teeny, tiny little 1% tax increase.
That’s some lamp.
On Valentines Day, Latimer trotted out his magic lamp during his presser to announce his new tax plan which would raise the Westchester County Sales Tax — and that of various towns and villages in the county — from 7 3/8% to 8 3/8%.
The amount of growth in the sales tax rate is 1% which he accurately described in his press release.
But then George gets confused.
As we explained yesterday, Latimer’s proposed increase is to 8.375% on a current tax rate of 7.375%. To calculate rate of growth, subtract the past number (7.375) from the future number (8.375) then divide by the past number (7.375).
(8.375 – 7.375)/ (7.375)
1.000 / 7.375
0.136 or 14%
There is no getting around math no matter how many magic lamps George thinks he has.
In his official statement on February 14th. Latimer refers accurately to the change as an “additional 1% in sales tax”.
Local politicians and every media outlet in Westchester perverted Latimer’s accurate statement to inaccurately declare Latimer was proposing a 1% tax increase which he is not. They are confusing (deliberately or not, you choose) sales tax rate with the sales tax. The sale tax rate is going up 1%, from 7 3/8 to 8 3/8. The sales tax is increasing 14%.
We had thought Latimer stopped reading Talk of the Sound after we (accurately) reported that he lied to New Rochelle police when he struck a car then crashed into a fence during his most recent campaign. And we were sure he stopped reading Talk of the Sound after we (accurately) reported he lied to State Senate colleagues to skip budget votes to take his gal-pal (not his wife as he told them) to London. And he will definitely stop reading Talk of the Sound if we post the New Jersey beach photos we saved for a rainy day.
But for now, apparently, he is still reading Talk of the Sound because we are the only media outlet that pointed out the phony media narrative that his 14% sales tax increase is a 1% sales tax increase and today he is tweeting about it, at us.
“You buy a $100 lamp. You pay $7.38 in tax. You buy the same lamp and pay $8.38 in tax. You paid $1 more in tax. $1/$100 is a 1% increase in the tax you paid.”
That he may actually believe this nonsense is troubling as he is the top elected official in the county and has to deal with serious issues like potential nuclear meltdowns, terror attacks and lamp sales.
We are here to help.
Sorry Romeo but you have must have skipped Econ 101.
We promise to go slow as we walk you through it.
The tax you would pay today on your magic lamp is $7.38.
The tax you would pay tomorrow on your magic lamp (if your plan is approved) would be $8.38.
You would pay $1 more in tax.
So far, so good.
But dude, seriously, you think when you are calculating growth rate in taxes you divide the taxed dollar amount into the price of the lamp? This is apples and oranges!
You do not divide the $1 into the cost of the lamp you divide the $1 into the base tax of $7.38.
And no matter how much you wish it were not true, 1 / 7.38 = 14%
The sales tax RATE is increasing 1% but the sales tax is going up 14%.
Stick to politics buddy, math is not your strong suit.
Hope that helps!
For those still bamboozled by Latimer’s magic lamp, set the lamp aside. It is meant to distract you from George’s math: he multiplied by 100 and them divided by 100 which is the same as doing nothing.
UPDATE: an explanatory video