Currently, the sales tax rate is 7.75 percent in Essex County. Raising it to a full 8 percent would put it on par with neighboring Franklin and Clinton Counties and a full point above Warren, Washington, and Hamilton Counties. Forty six of New York's 62 counties have a sales tax rate of 8 percent or higher.
Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava supported the resolution, but noted that the additional tax should only be used, if necessary, to take the place of a potential property tax increase.
"This isn't just looking to raise the $1.5 million so we can go out and spend it," he said.
Others, such as Westport Supervisor Dan Connell, were opposed to making the request.
"A tax is a tax is a tax," said Connell, arguing there's still much to be done to determine ways to cut county spending. "We've only just started [the] Deficit Reduction [committee] and we're already looking at a new tax."
Just last year, county officials voted to distribute a quarter-percent of its sales tax revenue among the towns and villages in Essex County. Some supervisors had argued for a half-percent or quarter-percent increase at that time, but the measure never garnered enough support.
"This isn't an additional revenue; this is a replacement revenue," argued Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow. "We already gave this quarter percent to the towns."
The resolution passed with only Connell, Crown Point Supervisor Bethany Kosmider, and Schroon Lake Supervisor Cathy Moses dissenting.