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Sales tax increase legislation finds Senate sponsorship

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St. Lawrence County’s three state senators are considering co-sponsorship of home rule legislation that would allow an increase in the local sales tax, county Legislative Chairman Jonathan S. Putney, D-Waddington, said.

“It’s nice to see sponsorship in the Senate,” he said.

County Administrator Karen M. St. Hilaire said he was pleased by the news.

“The only think that would make me happier is if the bill passes,” she said.

State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, said the congratulations should wait because the legislation — to be handled by the office of Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, remains just a plan.

“I don’t know of any introduction right now,” he said.

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, has already introduced home rule legislation that would allow the county to raise its sales tax from 3 to 4 percent. That would mean a total sales tax - including the state’s 4 percent - of 8 percent. But Mrs. Russell said the legislation was on an uncertain road because it lacked a companion bill in the Senate.

Even with a “same as” bill in the Senate, passage remains uncertain, Ms. St. Hilaire said.

“Sen. Griffo is concerned, as he has said all along, that it is unpredictable,” she said. “Every legislator will vote on their own.”

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