Legislature Passes County Sales Tax Extender

Legislative session has officially concluded for the year, and lawmakers won’t be trekking back to Albany until January 2018.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo called legislators back to the Capitol for a special session Wednesday to address several issues that included mayoral control of New York City schools and local sales tax authorizations. The Assembly passed legislation extending mayoral control for two years at 1 a.m. Thursday. They also approved sales tax extenders for local municipalities, including Chautauqua County.

The State Senate approved bills Thursday afternoon, which was followed with Cuomo’s signing of the legislation.

“I think it’s fair to say the extraordinary session was extraordinarily productive,” Cuomo said Thursday. “The extraordinary sessions are difficult because they are very intense and very compressed.”

The state Legislature concluded session last week, but the Democratic-controlled Assembly and Republican-led Senate left for home without coming to an agreement on the big issue that was mayoral control of New York City schools. Local sales tax extenders were tied to the downstate issue as Democrats in the Assembly placed the matters all into one bill.

“There’s nothing more that we anticipate that we’ll be doing,” said Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, following the special session. “We don’t anticipate being called back.”

With state approval, the county will be able to maintain an 8 percent sales tax until November 2019. The county’s 5 percent occupancy tax on hotels stays went through the state Legislature successfully as well as the continuation of mortgage taxes.

Legislation approved Thursday included flood recovery funds for Chautauqua County dating back to a July 14, 2015 storm in the north county. Funding was part of a $90 million package to assist upstate residents and businesses from flooding and other natural disasters since 2007.

Chautauqua County suffered significant damage from the 2015 storm that swept across Dunkirk, Cassadaga, Brocton and Ripley. Damage to drainage and culvert systems, traffic controls as well as road washouts totaled $4,332,265. Flood recovery funds are also going to Allegany and Cattaraugus counties.

“The flooding ravaged our community back in 2015,” said state Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean. “The state has the financial means to assume these one-time, unexpected costs, which amount to only about $6.9 million.”