So as you may have heard, it’s the last (scheduled) day of New York state’s legislative session today, and it’s looking like a long one for legislators before they head out for the season.
I actually just heard via email from our Albany reporter Karen DeWitt that the Senate hasn’t even started meeting yet for the day, and that there’s all sorts of other crazy stuff going on down there, so when I say it could be a long day, I mean a really long day.
Once again, the Albany Times-Union’s Capitol Confidential is covering the session like the dew covers the earth, and I can’t hope to be half as informative as they are (also they’ve got some interesting stuff about the two men arrested earlier this week for attempting to develop and sell a death ray. That’s a heck of a story, that is.)
Of particular interest to St. Lawrence County residents is one bill that’s currently occupying the Senate. That “home rule” bill would allow the county to raise its share of sales tax by one percent, from three to four percent (on top of the state’s four percent share, that makes eight percent.) The bill passed the Assembly last week, and it’s been in the Senate since then. There doesn’t seem to have been much action, but if it’s happening, it should be happening tonight.
St. Lawrence County’s been looking to raise its sales tax for some time now, which St. Lawrence County Legislative Chairman John Putney told Julie Grant last week would bring it in line with tax rates in neighboring Jefferson and Franklin counties.
Not everyone’s a fan of the idea, though. In a story this March, Julie reported that the county plans to use additional revenue from the tax increase mostly for property tax relief — not to help the financially troubled county (and which one isn’t?) regain its financial footing. For some concerned about the long-term health of the county that’s not good news.
In any event, we should know at some point today/tonight if that bill passes the Senate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has indicated in the past that he’d sign the bill if it passed (although in the past he’s held quite firm against tax increases by counties), but obviously we won’t know that for sure until he actually signs it. So there we go.