Sales tax hike approved in St. Lawrence, Essex, Clinton, Franklin counties

Photo: CBshoots, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Photo: CBshoots, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

In the final hours of the legislative session, North Country lawmakers pushed through sales tax hikes for four counties.

The the largest was a 1 percent hike in St. Lawrence County.  Essex County also boosted its sales tax by a quarter percent.

Clinton and Franklin Counties saw their sales taxes extended by the state legislature.

State Senator Joe Griffo released the following statement.

“I respect the home-rule wishes of the County leaders who have advocated in their desire to increase the sales tax.
As a former County Executive, I’m very familiar with the challenges that municipalities face when confronted with rising, mandated costs and flat revenue projections. Every available option should be discussed, reviewed with the opportunity for a public discussion, before a tax increase is considered. Reductions, restructuring, and reassessments are an essential part of this process. The County Leaders have assured me and my colleagues in the Legislature, that all contingencies have been examined and that the best course of action, in their judgment,  is to raise the sales tax instead property taxes.”
Senators Griffo and Patty Ritchie, and some county legislators, had been against raising the sales tax in St. Lawrence County. But this year’s budgeting process demonstrated the depth of the county’s financial hole. State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned last month that the county was “walking a financial tightrope”. In the end, the legislature unanimously supported the tax increase.
The question now will be what to do with the income. County leaders have suggested dropping property taxes 14% in one year. But in his press release, Griffo counseled a more gradual approach:
I think it’s incumbent upon the St. Lawrence County legislature to look to immediately plan a way to reduce the property tax burden in a fiscally-responsible way that reduces the rate over a regular set amount over the next three years. This will avoid roller-coaster budgeting.

State Senator Betty Little’s office also released a summary of the changes in the four affected counties:

(S.4531) Essex County authorized to increase local sales tax from 3 ¾ to 4
percent.

The county of Essex is hereby further authorized and empowered to adopt and
amend local laws, ordinances or resolutions imposing such taxes at a rate
which is [three-quarters of] one percent additional to the three percent
rate authorized above in this paragraph for such county  for  the period
beginning [June] December first, two thousand [four] thirteen, and  ending
November  thirtieth,  two  thousand   [thirteen] fifteen;

(S.5104) St. Lawrence County authorized to increase local sales tax from 3
to 4 percent.


To authorize St. Lawrence County to impose an additional one percent rate
of sales and compensating use taxes for the period beginning December 1,
2013 and ending November 30, 2015.

(S.4462) Clinton County authorized to extend its 4 percent local sales tax.

Section 1 would amend clause 36 of subparagraph (i) of the opening
paragraph of section 1210 of the Tax Law, which authorizes counties and
cities to impose sales and use taxes at specified rates, to authorize
Clinton County to impose an additional 1% rate of such taxes for the period
commencing December 1, 2013, and ending November 30, 2015.

(S.4463) Franklin County authorized to extend its 4 percent local sales
tax.

The county of Franklin is hereby further authorized and empowered to  adopt
and amend local laws, ordinances or resolutions imposing such taxes at a
rate that is one percent additional to the three percent rate authorized
above in this paragraph for such county for the period beginning June
first, two thousand six and  ending  November  thirtieth,  two  thousand [
thirteen] fifteen.

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2 Comments on “Sales tax hike approved in St. Lawrence, Essex, Clinton, Franklin counties”

  1. The Original Larry says:

    Just another brick in the wall that makes New York an unfriendly, expensive and inhospitable place to live, work or visit. I don’t suppose anyone considered actually cutting spending as an answer. Probably not in a county (Essex) that seriously proposed converting a bookmobile into a mobile command center.

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  2. mervel says:

    It is kind of fascinating we have the gov running around the North Country carving out these tax free zones while at the same time the County governments in these same areas are raising taxes.

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