Legislation signed today by Gov. Andrew Cuomo exempts military service flags, prisoner of war flags and blue star banners from sales tax. American flags and state of New York flags already are exempt from the tax. Blue star banners denote that a son or daughter is serving in the military.
The bill was first introduced in the 2005-06 session of the Legislature but did not pass both houses until this year. It takes effect Dec. 1, provided the state can put the necessary regulations in place by that date, according to Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Suffolk County, one of the sponsors of the legislation.
“Our veterans, our military service men and women and their families sacrifice so much, and the greatest symbol of their service is a flag,” LaValle said in a statement. “To me, it was really a no-brainer to do this.”
Also today, the governor signed a bill that increases state reimbursements to counties for aerial spraying for mosquitoes on state land. Existing law provides that counties may be reimbursed half of the cost of emergency measures taking during public-health emergencies. The new law provides that counties may be reimbursed 100 percent of the cost, within amounts appropriated. The current state budget includes $100,000 for that purpose.
A 4-year-old girl from Central New York died in the summer of 2011 from Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a viral disease found in wild birds. It is transmitted to horses by mosquitoes. The bill sponsors said the reimbursements to counties will help prevent future tragedies like this.