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County Legislature Passes Sales Tax Request, But Questions Linger

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Erie County Legislature narrowly passed a home rule message Thursday seeking permission from Albany to add another penny to the sales tax. But the measure -- which passed by a vote of eight to six -- may be doomed to failure.

State lawmakers have said they would not approve the measure without ten votes from the county. A final county vote to implement the so-called "ninth penny" would require ten votes. Democratic Majority Leader Lynn Marinelli says it's anybody's guess what state lawmakers will do.

"They stated they want 10 votes. They got eight and eight is what's legally required," Marinelli said. "Now, they can sort it out. Certainly, the county executive has some work to do in trying to find the requisite votes in this house."

Democrat Al DeBendetti pulled his support for the tax increase. Newcomer Timothy Kennedy also voted no, taking away another of the crucial yes votes.

With the tax and the budget in limbo, legislators also asked Albany to extend the deadline by one month for residents to pay their taxes. Bills, which would be due February 15th have not yet gone out.