Saturday, June 9, 2007

Destito Caves In, Picente's Tax Moves Forward

I thought it was too good to be true that Assemblywoman Roanne Destito would put the kibosh on Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente's tax hike. Sadly, it turns out I was right.

The other shoe has dropped in Albany on the county’s bid to enact a .75 percent sales tax to replace the 1 percent levy that expires later this year.

Assemblywoman RoAnn M. Destito, D-116, Rome, said today the required legislation was "being introduced as a Rules bill" through the Assembly Rules Committee, meaning it has no individual sponsor. Similar legislation was introduced earlier on the Senate side, thanks to Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-47, Rome.

Not sponsoring the measure directly does give Destito some thin political cover, but other than that it's business as usual in Oneida County.

Destito said the legislation was going to the Assembly, even though she does not think it is going in the right direction.

"I understand this is a home rule message," Destito said, adding that she would prefer to see the sales tax fall to its pre-2005 rate of 8 percent.

"We’re sitting on this surplus and yet the county executive’s plan calls for further taxing, only to maintain a comfortable fund balance," said Destito. "It’s time that we start returning tax money to the hard-working residents of Oneida County. I will continue to drag my feet on this issue until our county executive offers a reasonable commitment to the taxpayers."
She says the county’s financial position has improved and the county should be striving to "hold the line on property taxes and commit to lower the sales tax to 8 percent."

Deeds speak far louder than words. Dragging your feet doesn't accomplish anything when you admit you're going to end up crossing the line eventually. Ms. Destito could have single-handedly stopped this tax increase in it's tracks, but now she's enabled Mr. Picente to move forward with his plan to gleefully burden Oneida County, yet again, with one of the highest tax burdens in the entire country.