Assembly passes Suffolk sales tax bill

After months of controversy and political fights, the New York State Assembly voted 96 to 45 Tuesday in favor of keeping the Suffolk County sales tax the same. Some members of the Assembly had tried

News 12 Staff

Oct 24, 2007, 2:26 AM

Updated 6,116 days ago

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After months of controversy and political fights, the New York State Assembly voted 96 to 45 Tuesday in favor of keeping the Suffolk County sales tax the same.
Some members of the Assembly had tried to use the bill as leverage in coercing Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy into supporting a hiring hall for illegal immigrant day laborers on county property.
Levy refused to bend. "Hopefully the message here is that political blackmail doesn't pay," he said after the vote.
If the bill had failed, Suffolk's sales tax would have decreased by 1 percent. The county would have lost an estimated $300 million a year in revenue with the decrease.
"It would have led to health centers closing, our bus center closing, police classes canceled, and layoffs," Levy said.
Not everyone agrees with the Assembly's decision. Economist Irwin Kellner said keeping sales tax the same "in the long run could hurt the county, to the extent that it keeps Suffolk taxes high."
Also Tuesday, the Assembly passed a bill that would extend a quarter-percent sales tax in Suffolk. The proceeds of that tax go to open space and other environmental programs. Final approval on the measure will be decided by referendum in November.


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