Municipalities Respond To Broome's Proposed Sales Tax Formula

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Oct 22, 2009 at 6:28 PM EDT

Broome County is looking to keep more of the sales tax collected.

It would cap the amount it shares with the city, towns and villages.

Of the 8 percent sales tax you pay on purchases,

4 percent goes to Broome.

Currently, the county takes 1 percent off the top.

It splits the remaining 3 percent.

Half goes to the county and the other half is paid out to municipalities.

Under the new proposal, Broome would calculate the average it pays out to local governments.

They would receive that same amount the following year.

If sales tax revenue goes up, municipalities would only get an additional half percent of the increase.

But as Action News Reporter Caitlin Nuclo tells us, critics are concerned municipalities could actually lose money.

"Broome county government is holding the lions share of the expenses, we have the big tickets items," said Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala.

Which is why Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala says it's looking to change the way it shells out sales tax revenue.

Fiala is proposing a cap on the amount municipalities receive.

If revenue increases, town, city and village governments will get a point-5 percent share of that hike.

"The city of Binghamton what they will see in 2010 will be more than what they already budgeted for in 2010," said Fiala.

Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan says he wants to take a step back.

The Democrat wants to delay any decisions until everyone gets a chance to examine the plan.

"I want to look at all the numbers and make sure there is a fair distribution of the sales taxes, we don't want anything to go through so quickly that everyone doesn't understand all the parameters and all the ramifications of what it means," said Ryan.

The plan has been getting back lash from government officials on both sides of the aisle.

And provoked some strongly worded letters of opposition.

Some say they feel their missing out on their fair share.

"This is not a plan that in any way benefits anybody, as far as I can see, except the county," said Endicott Mayor John Bertoni.

"I think the county forgets that sales tax is generated by the towns and villages," said Dickinson Supervisor Michael Marinaccio.

Marinaccio adds the plan short changes them because they'll only get part of pot when revenue increases.

Vestal Supervisor Peter Andreason says the town will be playing catch up.

"I did not expect a convoluted formula. That I did not expect. Now this makes it look like they're helping," said Andreason.

But according to Fiala, it will help.

She says governments will be able to budget better.

Because they'll know exactly how much money they will receive each year.

Mayors and Supervisors we spoke with say they're satisfied with the formula used now.

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