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It's time to reconsider sales tax option and slash the property tax burden

This is just one of many positions, up to 40, that are on the chopping block.

Already, our roadways have suffered, with far less mileage of new paving being laid down this year than in prior years, and there are more potholes and substandard roadways around the county than in recent history.

But with the record foreclosures and oppressive tax burden, county taxpayers can't afford to have property taxes raised.

Why not raise the sales tax to 8 percent? Only five of the state's 672 counties have sales tax less than 8 percent, and they include Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties.

The basic problem is chiefly with ever-increasing state mandates on counties to provide unfunded services.

Opponents to a sales tax hike say that sales taxes are regressive, hurting the poor more than the wealthy.

But I disagree. A large percentage of our county's economy is based on either tourists, or wealthy part-year residents, both of whom consume a tremendous amount of goods and services that are taxed. Three percent of taxable sales already brings $45 million into the county. In addition, remember that groceries and medicine are non-taxable.

Also, any dollar raised as a tax on consumption - which is primarily a matter of personal choice - reduces a mandated, unavoidable property tax which is not a matter of personal choice.

Opponents of a sales tax hike also say that taxes would discourage tourism, but this is likely not true. Remember how many vocal citizens claimed the 3 percent bed tax now charged at hotels and motels would repel visitors? Since the bed tax has been imposed, we've enjoyed a string of outstanding seasons for tourism.

Citizens wary of a sales tax increase should consider Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino's calculations. He estimates that a 1 percent sales tax offers a net gain by most county taxpayers of $280 per year. At that rate, a citizen would have to spend $28,000 for taxable goods and services to break even.

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