County lawmakers approve spending plan that hinges on raising the sales tax

The county Legislature spent hours debating Monday, but finally agreed on a spending plan. Legislators approved a spending plan hinging on New York State allowing the county to raise the sales tax by one percent. But if the state does not agree to allow the sales tax increase, the county may be forced to revert back to the original budget plan.

Westchester Executive Andy Spano's says the county desperately needs Albany to approve the sales tax hike. According to Spano, the money would be used to pay for state mandated programs and to keep property taxes in line. If state officials do not approve the sales tax increase, county leaders would have to reconvene and pass Spano's contingency budget. That budget calls for some 300 job cuts and more than a 20 percent property tax hike.

The new budget plan passed in the Legislature by a vote of 11-6. Opponents say too much of the plan rests upon uncertainty in Albany. Those in favor of the budget are optimistic that the sales tax hike will pass, and they say the plan accomplishes their underlying goal of saving jobs.

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