LATHAM, N.Y. — The New York School Bus Contractors Association (NYSBCA) is calling on state legislators to eliminate the sales tax from the purchase of school buses.

According to the association, the move would help New York taxpayers and school districts save nearly $14 million per year.

Currently, school districts pay the state and local sales tax on the purchase of every school bus bought by private operators as a portion of their transportation contracts. The state then reimburses the district for the expense of the transportation contract not paid by district taxpayers.

NYSBCA Vice President Mike Martucci gave testimony on the topic at the state joint legislative hearing on the 2015-16 executive budget.

“Removing the sales tax from school buses is a simple cost-saving solution that will help reduce the cost of student transportation in New York, and allow the state to put that savings where it belongs — in our classrooms,” Martucci said.

Transit buses, commercial airplanes, ferry boats, fishing vessels, tractors, semi-trailers and even race horses are excluded from the sales tax in New York. Private coach buses were exempted from the sales tax in the mid-90s because of their public and environmental benefits.

“It seems logical that school buses, which produce direct public and environmental benefits, should be exempted from state and local sales taxes … especially given the fact that there would be no loss in revenue to the state of New York because the state is currently paying the sales taxes on school buses as part of the transportation contracts.”

According to the NYSBCA, school districts would also be able to negotiate future savings through contract renewals or public bids, passing the savings on to property taxpayers.

“Exempting school buses, the parts, maintenance and fuel used to transport schoolchildren is the right thing to do,” Martucci said. “It will have no negative impact on the state’s fiscal plan and will save taxpayers millions of dollars each year.”

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