Assemblywoman Russell faults Senate for ‘wrong’ approach to St. Lawrence County sales tax issue
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 8:36 am

Updated 9:30 a.m. March 17

The state Senate’s proposal to overhaul the process for counties and cities to increase their sales tax is not the solution for St. Lawrence County’s sales tax request, Assemblywoman Addie Russell says.

“The plan is like hitting the head of a common pin with a sledge hammer,” said Russell, D-Theresa, who represents the “River District” in northern St. Lawrence County.

“Similar proposals to turn the entire sales tax process on its head have failed to become law in the past. We cannot afford to play games with people’s health and safety by placing county services in further jeopardy.”

For some time, St. Lawrence County legislators have wanted state lawmakers to authorize a 1 percent sales tax increase to 8 percent. However, state senators Patricia A. Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) and Joe Griffo, R-Rome, who represent most of the county, have not been willing to sponsor legislation to make that happen.

Ritchie has said she would only support the county in its bid for a higher rate if extra sales tax revenue would be used to reduce county property taxes.

Russell, in a prepared statement, said she has introduced legislation in the Assembly for several years, and has “assurances that the Assembly is ready and able to pass the legislation into law.”

However, she noted, “that cannot occur without the Senate passing the same bill. We have passed Jefferson County’s sales tax requests during the same time period.”

She continued, “the people of St. Lawrence County deserve a straight forward piece of legislation that can be passed in both houses, just like every other county in the state with more than a 3 percent sales tax. I continue to call upon my colleagues in the Senate to introduce the bill that allows for a sales tax increase for St. Lawrence County.”

Of the current 7 percent sales tax collected in St. Lawrence County, three percent goes to the county and the county shares about 40 precent of that 3 percent with the city, towns and villages in the county. The other 4 percent of the sales tax collected goes to the state. (This paragraph has been updated from the original version to correct how sales tax collected in St. Lawrence County is divided between the state, county and local municipalities.)

“It is our responsibility as state lawmakers to investigate these kinds of local tax increases, have discussions with local leaders, look at the financial data, and make a determination to support or oppose each home rule request. The Senate’s plan to hide sales tax increases in the budget and remove the state’s oversight role is dangerous policy and not in the interests of taxpayers due to the reduced transparency and accountability,” said Russell.

Russell provided the change to existing law that need to be made to enable St. Lawrence County to increase its sales tax. The changes are in capital letters:

Introduced by M. of A. RUSSELL -- read once and referred to the Commit-

tee on Ways and Means

AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to authorizing the county of

St. Lawrence to impose an additional one percent of sales and compen-

sating use taxes

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-

BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

1 Section 1. Subparagraph (i) of the opening paragraph of section 1210

2 of the tax law is amended by adding a new clause 41 to read as follows:

3 (41) THE COUNTY OF ST. LAWRENCE IS HEREBY FURTHER AUTHORIZED AND

4 EMPOWERED TO ADOPT AND AMEND LOCAL LAWS, ORDINANCES OR RESOLUTIONS

5 IMPOSING SUCH TAXES AT A RATE THAT IS ONE PERCENT ADDITIONAL TO THE

6 THREE PERCENT RATE AUTHORIZED ABOVE IN THIS PARAGRAPH FOR SUCH COUNTY

7 FOR THE PERIOD BEGINNING DECEMBER FIRST, TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN AND

8 ENDING NOVEMBER THIRTIETH, TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN;

9 S 2. Subparagraph (iii) of the opening paragraph of section 1210 of

10 the tax law, as amended by chapter 74 of the laws of 2010, is amended to

11 read as follows:

12 (iii) the maximum rate referred to in section twelve hundred twenty-

13 four of this article shall be calculated without reference to the

14 following additional rates authorized in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) of

15 this paragraph: one and one-half percent for the county of Allegany; one

16 percent for the counties of Rensselaer, Erie, Cattaraugus, Wyoming,

17 Ulster, Albany, Suffolk, Greene, Orleans, Franklin, Herkimer, Genesee,

18 Columbia, Schuyler, Chenango, Monroe, Steuben, Chemung, Seneca, Living-

19 ston, Niagara, Yates, Tioga, Montgomery, Delaware, Wayne, Schoharie,

20 Putnam, Clinton, ST. LAWRENCE and Onondaga and the cities of Yonkers,

21 Mount Vernon and New Rochelle; three-quarters of one percent for the

22 counties of Dutchess, Essex, Lewis, Orange, and Jefferson; one percent

23 and three-quarters of one percent or one-half of one percent for the

24 county of Oneida; three-quarters of one percent and one-half of one

EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets

[ ] is old law to be omitted.

LBD08819-01-3

A. 4761 2

1 percent for the county of Nassau; one-half of one percent and one-quar-

2 ter of one percent and one-quarter of one percent for the city of White

3 Plains; one-half or one percent for the county of Tompkins; three-

4 eighths of one percent and five-eighths of one percent for the county of

5 Rockland; one-half of one percent for the counties of Putnam and Sche-

6 nectady; one-eighth of one percent and three-eighths of one percent for

7 the county of Ontario; one-half of one percent; one-half of one percent

8 for the county of Sullivan; and three-quarters of one percent or one-

9 half of one percent for the county of Chautauqua;

10 S 3. Subdivision (a) of section 1223 of the tax law, as amended by

11 chapter 74 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:

12 (a) No transaction taxable under sections twelve hundred two through

13 twelve hundred four of this article shall be taxed pursuant to this

14 article by any county or by any city located therein, or by both, at an

15 aggregate rate in excess of the highest rate set forth in the applicable

16 subdivision of section twelve hundred one of this article or, in the

17 case of any taxes imposed pursuant to the authority of section twelve

18 hundred ten or twelve hundred eleven of this article (other than taxes

19 imposed by the county of Nassau, Erie, Steuben, Cattaraugus, Suffolk,

20 Oneida, Genesee, Greene, Franklin, Herkimer, Tioga, Orleans, Allegany,

21 Ulster, Albany, Rensselaer, Tompkins, Wyoming, Columbia, Schuyler, Rock-

22 land, Chenango, Monroe, Chemung, Seneca, Sullivan, Wayne, Livingston,

23 Schenectady, Montgomery, Delaware, Clinton, Niagara, Yates, Lewis,

24 Essex, Dutchess, Schoharie, Putnam, Chautauqua, Orange, Oswego, Ontario,

25 Jefferson, ST. LAWRENCE or Onondaga and by the county of Cortland and

26 the city of Cortland and by the county of Broome and the city of Bing-

27 hamton and by the county of Cayuga and the city of Auburn and by the

28 county of Otsego and the city of Oneonta and by the county of Madison

29 and the city of Oneida and by the county of Fulton and the city of

30 Gloversville or the city of Johnstown as provided in section twelve

31 hundred ten of this article) at a rate in excess of three percent,

32 except that, in the city of Yonkers, in the city of Mount Vernon, in the

33 city of New Rochelle, in the city of Fulton and in the city of Oswego,

34 the rate may not be in excess of four percent and in the city of White

35 Plains, the rate may not be in excess of four percent and except that in

36 the city of Poughkeepsie in the county of Dutchess, if such county with-

37 draws from the metropolitan commuter transportation district pursuant to

38 section twelve hundred seventy-nine-b of the public authorities law and

39 if the revenues from a three-eighths percent rate of such tax imposed by

40 such county, pursuant to the authority of section twelve hundred ten of

41 this article, are required by local laws, ordinances or resolutions to

42 be set aside for mass transportation purposes, the rate may not be in

43 excess of three and three-eighths percent.

44 S 4. Section 1224 of the tax law is amended by adding a new subdivi-

45 sion (ii) to read as follows:

46 (II) THE COUNTY OF ST. LAWRENCE SHALL HAVE THE SOLE RIGHT TO IMPOSE

47 THE ADDITIONAL ONE PERCENT RATE OF TAX WHICH SUCH COUNTY IS AUTHORIZED

48 TO IMPOSE PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION TWELVE HUNDRED TEN OF

49 THIS ARTICLE. SUCH ADDITIONAL RATE OF TAX SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO ANY

50 OTHER TAX WHICH SUCH COUNTY MAY IMPOSE OR MAY BE IMPOSING PURSUANT TO

51 THIS ARTICLE OR ANY OTHER LAW AND SUCH ADDITIONAL RATE OF TAX SHALL NOT

52 BE SUBJECT TO PREEMPTION. THE MAXIMUM THREE PERCENT RATE REFERRED TO IN

53 THIS SECTION SHALL BE CALCULATED WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE ADDITIONAL ONE

54 PERCENT RATE OF TAX WHICH THE COUNTY OF ST. LAWRENCE IS AUTHORIZED AND

55 EMPOWERED TO ADOPT PURSUANT TO SECTION TWELVE HUNDRED TEN OF THIS ARTI-

56 CLE.

A. 4761 3

1 S 5. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, if

2 the county of St. Lawrence enacts or amends a local law, ordinance or

3 resolution to impose, effective on December 1, 2013, the additional one

4 percent additional rate of sales and compensating use taxes authorized

5 by this act, such local law, ordinance or resolution shall take effect

6 in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (d) of section 1210 of

7 the tax law, except that the minimum notice requirements to the commis-

8 sioner of taxation and finance shall be deemed complied with if such

9 county mails by certified or registered mail, a certified copy of such

10 local law, ordinance or resolution to such commissioner at his or her

11 office in Albany on or before November 1, 2013.

12 S 6. This act shall take effect immediately.