Confusion Reigns Over Sales Tax Deal

MGN Online


There's plenty of confusion over whether St. Lawrence County will be able to raise its portion of the sales tax to 4 percent.

Despite recent indications from Albany that the sales tax increase might be part of a larger budget bill, the measure appears not to be part of the deal agreed to by the governor and leaders of the Assembly and Senate. 

A spokesman for state Senator Joe Griffo (R. - 47th District) says there is still a possibility the bill will be included in final budget negotiations.

However, Assemblywoman Addie Russell (D. - 116th District) says that was never really the case. 

Russell says she has guarantees from the leadership of the Assembly that it will pass a bill allowing St. Lawrence County to increase its share of the sales tax when the Assembly reconvenes later this month, but it's the Senate that has not taken up the legislation.

Rayan Aguam, spokesman for Senator Griffo, says the initiative was indeed part of the overall budget negotiations; it was the Assembly that was lukewarm to the idea. 

Both Senator Griffo and Senator Patty Ritchie (R. - 48th District) have declined to sponsor home rule legislation allowing for the increase because they say it represents a tax hike.

According to Ritchie's office, the Senate passed a budget resolution on March 11, which formed the basis of negotiations with the Assembly and Executive:

Article VII Proposal (S.2609--C)

Part R: The Senate accepts the Executive recommendation to authorize counties  and  cities to impose their current additional local rates of  sale  and  compensating  use  taxes  without   obtaining   State legislative authority while maintaining current preemption rules. In addition,  the  Senate  supports  advancement  of  a  proposal  that empowers local governments with enhanced  local  authority  to  make their  own  financial  decisions provided sixty percent of the local governing board  votes  in  favor  of  such  law,  the  locality  is prohibited  from  exceeding  the  property  tax cap for three fiscal years and the locality implements best-budgeting practices.


Thursday, December 8, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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