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County votes 'Yes' on sales tax hike request

"I will take the stone throwing," he said of potential outcry from his constituents. "I will stand up for what is right."

Regardless of the wide margin in the vote, the sales tax hike is not a sure thing.

The request must first go to the state Legislature for enabling legislation, then return for a second vote by county supervisors, as soon as late spring 2010.

With four new supervisors joining the county board, the measure could be ultimately rejected.

The sales tax hike could first be effective June 1, 2010 if the state Legislature acts on the request quickly, or it could be as late as Sept. 1, 2010, County Attorney Paul Dusek said. The request for the increase will include a provision that it will expire exactly two years after it takes effect unless it is renewed at that time by a vote of county board, he said.

Prior to the vote, Glens Falls Supervisor Bill Kenny argued that the sales tax hike was not a mere one percent increase, that it was really a 14.8 percent boost to the existing tax.

He warned that such an increase would unfairly crimp the budgets of low and moderate income people.

"People are tightening their belts and Warren County needs to tighten their belt too and not add taxes to struggling middle-class residents," he said. "This tax increase will stall any economic recovery we are now in the middle of."

Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe responded that the county leaders had already cut about $7 million out of the budget, and regardless of how many more cuts were made, budget decreases would not replenish cash reserves that were spent in bygone years.

While Kenny argued that the sales tax hurt the poor the worst and that sales tax revenues from tourism were understated, other supervisors disagreed.

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