The Erie County Legislature has voted 10-5 to send a request to Albany to raise the county sales tax to 9.25%. The legislature struggled to find the 10 votes needed for the state legislature to act on the request. In the end, democratic legislator Al DeBenedetti decided to vote in favor of the tax increase, even though he earlier told 2 On Your Side that he would not vote for a full penny increase. "County government is up and running," legislature chairman George Holt told reporters after the vote. "I want to commend Mr. DeBenedetti for his commitment." "Today's vote reflects that we've made some progress in discussions," DeBenedetti said. "Hopefully we came come to some sort of agreement to reduce spending in the county." The legislature adopted the measure, called the "Home Rule" request, which will be sent to Albany. The state legislature is expected to take action on the request in the next 24 hours. One final vote is needed in the county legislature before the sales tax increase takes effect. That vote, like today's, must have at least 10 votes for the sales tax increase becomes official. "I'm much more likely to vote for the sales tax (in the final vote) than not, because I've seen a spirit of cooperation between us and the county executive regarding our spending," DeBenedetti said.Mr. County Executive, was it worth it? Was it worth throwing the County into such turmoil for nigh on three months? Of course not. Giambra had a point to make, but he could have made the same point without putting Erie County's quality of life at jeopardy. After all, our quality of life is just about all we have left.
They passed the penny
The Red Budget is dead. Long Live the Green Budget.