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Assembly hang up could hit local property tax bills hard

Will state lawmakers act before the 2017 legislative session ends June 21 on what has become a routine request from most New York counties — including Yates — to approve action allowing the local sales tax rate to remain at the current level? Or will Yates County property taxpayers have to withstand an increase in their tax bills and/or cuts in services to cover the potential for nearly $3 million shortfall that could result?

County officials all over New York State are raising the alarm about the potential for a gaping $1.8 billion hole in local budgets, according to the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC).

Yates County Treasurer Winona Flynn says failure to maintain the local sales tax rate at 4 percent would be “devastating” to the Yates County budget. She says, “A 1 percent loss of sales tax revenue based on our 2016 sales tax revenues would equate to $2,871,332 or almost $3 million.”

The Yates County Legislature first requested home rule for the .25 percent mortgage tax renewal and sales tax renewal in March. It’s a formality that local officials have gone through every two years for some time, and in every other instance, state officials have obliged the request. This year, the county home rule requests have been been lumped with a bill related to the New York City mayor’s authority over New York City Schools.

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