MALONE –– Franklin County will collect a sales tax of 4% on top of the state’s 4% tax for the next three years.
The county Legislature voted unanimously Thursday to extend a 1% sales tax levy on top of the county’s base 3% sales tax. The vote keeps the total sales tax collected on purchases in the county at 8%.
State law permits the county to collect a sales of tax of 3%, but the county –– like many counties in the state –– was given permission by the state Legislature to collect an additional 1% –– an addition that must be reapproved periodically by the state. Had the county Legislature not acted, the additional 1% levy would have expired on Nov. 30.
The state authorized the county to collect the additional tax as part of the 2020-21 state budget.
The county OK came after a public hearing that drew no attendees and no written comments.
County legislators noted that the extension of the 1% levy is typically routine, but three years ago it became caught up in a battle between the Democratic-controlled state Assembly and the state Senate, which at the time was controlled by the Republicans.
The Assembly had wrapped provisions continuing mayoral control of New York City schools and the sales tax extension together into a single omnibus bill. The Senate approved the sales tax extensions for multiple counties as separate bills, but balked at extending mayoral control without some concessions from Democrats on charter school regulations.
The disagreement resulted in an impasse that had local officials across the state fearing they would not get the required sales tax extension approved before the earlier authorization expired - which could have resulted in massive revenue losses. Both the tax extension and a two-year extension of mayoral control were ultimately approved in an “extraordinary session” called a week after the regular legislative session had ended.
Both houses of the state Legislature are now controlled by the Democrats.