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Times editorial wrong on sales-tax increase

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I’m writing in response to the Watertown Daily Times editorial “Wrong Approach.”

I respectfully disagree with this editorial, which evidently seeks to keep property taxes too high in St. Lawrence County. I believe that farmers, families, seniors and all landowners need to have property tax relief. That is what the county is trying to achieve with the bipartisan sales tax plan.

If there is an equitable sales tax rate compared to our neighboring counties (and most other counties in New York state), the St. Lawrence County Legislature will be able to implement the bipartisan plan to reduce property taxes by 14 percent in the first year. In the four years following the 14 percent tax cut, the plan stays within the 2 percent cap.

We have invested in economic development by contracting with the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency to attract private-sector firms from Canada and elsewhere to the region. Two weeks ago, I wrote a widely dispersed letter in favor of the governor’s game-changing Tax Free NY program. I appreciate the editorial’s comments on the Psych Center, SUNY and Alcoa. The county is fighting vigorously to protect these interests and looks forward to continuing to work with the governor and North Country Regional Economic Development Council.

St. Lawrence County government has reduced spending and brought order to its fiscal house as has been successfully demonstrated to Senators Ritchie, Griffo and Little, Assemblywoman Russell, and the New York state comptroller, who just finished auditing the county’s finances and is in agreement that the county desperately needs to increase revenue. County government is trying to do what it can with what it can control to move us ahead. Lowering property taxes will help our businesses. I’m excited about the prospect of property tax relief and I hope that our effort to provide property tax relief for county residents through our sales tax plan isn’t stalled due to the recently published editorial.

Jonathan Putney

Waddington

The writer is chairman of the St.Lawrence County Board of Legislators.

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