Local leaders: County executive delaying sales tax talk

By Perry Russom

June 4, 2013 Updated Jun 4, 2013 at 7:52 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Members of the Broome County Legislature and Binghamton City Council want an equal share of the county's sales taxes.

Democratic Legislator Tony Fiala and City Council President Teri Rennia said Broome Executive Debbie Preston's administration is delaying negotiations over the 50/50 sales tax split until September, when budget season is well underway.

Sales taxes are split among the state, county and local municipalities. The current plan splits the 8 percent sales tax equally between the state and the county -- 4 percent each.

The county then keeps 1 percent of its 4 percent for Medicaid, and 1.5 percent for itself. The remaining 1.5 percent is divided among municipalities depending on their population size.

Preston said in 2012 she supported a plan that would give the county and municipalities each 2 percent. She hasn't shared that view this year.

Fiala took it further, saying Preston has flip-flopped from her original view of the current sales tax code.

"In the past, when the county executive was a supervisor, she was very supportive of this along with the Republican-controlled county legislature," said Fiala. "Now, we're kind of seeing a switch here of not bringing it into the forefront as it deserves."

Without the even split, Rennia said the city of Binghamton is losing out on $1.1 million in revenue each year.

"We are taking a serious hit," she said. "There's only so long we're going to be able to do this without impacting services. So, hopefully now is the time."

Rennia said police and fire services are among those that could be affected.

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