Updated 10/04/2012 09:50 PM
Lawmakers spar over sales tax distribution
The distribution of sales tax in Broome County is being called in to question after some proposed double digit tax increase in some towns. YNN's Chris Whalen tells us what democrats and republicans want to do to help generate more revenue for local governments.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y.--Candidates often make promises along the campaign trail, but this one came in writing. Five democratic candidates in Broome County signed a pledge Thursday that says they'll restore a 50-50 sales tax distribution between the County and local municipalities if they're elected.
"When times are good, the county and the local governments shared in good times and when times are bad, we need to also share in those challenges," said Tarik Abdelazim, candidate for County Executive.
The current formula for sales tax took effect in 2011 and caps the amount municipalities can take in and was based on figures from 2010, a time when revenues were much lower than they are now due to the recession. As the economy improves, the county is taking in more money from the deal while towns and villages are stuck with about the same amount.
"If you're planning on a certain percentage of money that doesn't come through, it's very hard then to have to redo your own budget if you are a village or a town," said Gina Giglio, candidate for County Legislature.
Believe it or not, democrats and republicans actually agree that the split should be restored to 50-50. However, republicans say that bringing it back to the way it used to be isn't that simple.
"Do we want it back immediately? Absolutely. But, within 60 days, you're going to have an adopted budget that you're going to have to administer and monitor. So what that number is, what is he willing to cut, because right now, he's not willing to make any changes," said Town of Union Councilman Tom Augostini.
The GOP lawmakers who gathered to respond to the democratic candidates Thursday say County Executive Debbie Preston is working toward restoring the split as her 2013 budget calls for ten percent to be returned to municipalities, but also understand that it will take time to bring it back completely.