Recent reports that the new City of Poughkeepsie administration headed by Republican Mayor Rob (or perhaps Robbed) Rolison has discovered nearly $8 million in debts – including more than $1 million owed to the Poughkeepsie School District – left unpaid by outgoing Republican Mayor John Tkazyik leaves us asking one important question: Where did the money go?
We know at least $6 million in sales tax revenue was taken from the struggling city by Dutchess County under the direction of Republican County Executive Marcus Molinaro and the Republican-dominated county legislature. Facing his own budget problems in 2011, Molinaro ripped up the existing sales tax sharing agreement and pushed through a new plan that filled the county coffers at the expense of the cities and towns. Since 2012, the City of Poughkeepsie has lost an estimated $6M in sales tax revenues – money that would have gone a long way to paying the bills.
And who was leading the county legislature at the time? None other than then-Chairman Robbed Rolison! Ah the irony. But it is surely less amusing to the Poughkeepsie residents that will have to foot the bill with higher taxes and reduced services.