Selling the Sales Tax

The Schenectady County Legislature had an opportunity to reduce the sales tax on purchases made in the county.

They declined to do so.

It doesn’t sound like much, but the legislators could have reduced sales taxes in the county by 1/2%.  Turns out that small percentage grabs another $10 million annually from taxpayers.

Apparently, state law requires the county to vote every two years to keep this extra sales tax percentage in place.  Therefore, the Legislature took up a resolution to continue the tax rate.

No surprise, the vote basically occurred along party lines.  11 Democrats & one Conservative voted to continue the existing tax rate.  One Democrat was absent.  Both Republicans voted against the resolution.

I attended the County Legislature meeting, (my first one), this past Tuesday.  The debate over the resolution was entertaining, to say the least.  The Republicans called it a tax increase.  The Democrats argued that it was a continuation of the existing tax rate, necessary to keep property taxes from increasing.  The Dems also claimed that the -ahem- revenue shortfall could not be balanced with spending cuts.  They blamed unfunded mandates created by state legislators.

Sounded more like an excuse to me.

Never mind that my property taxes have gone up every year since I’ve been a homeowner in Schenectady County.  And no, I don’t want property taxes to increase either.  But I’m guessing that there must be something that can be cut in a nearly $293 million county budget.  I’ll be looking at that budget in more detail over the upcoming weeks.

Personally, I call it a missed opportunity.  The Legislature could have decreased an existing tax rate.

Yeah… I know.  Unrealistic expectations of our elected representatives.

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