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County Legislature Approves Sales Tax Measure, Seeks State Approval for Penny Increase

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – After weeks of uncertainty, the Erie County Legislature voted 10 to five Tuesday morning to approve a home rule message that seeks state permission for a penny increase in the sales tax.

Buffalo Democrat Al DeBenedetti provided the crucial tenth vote, saying it reflects the progress that has been made in discussions to reduce county spending.

Leaders of the Western New York delegation to the state Legislature have promised to secure state approval if the ten votes were provided.

Once state approval is received, the County Legislature must once again provide a two-thirds majority approval to officially enact the 9.25 sales tax.

The lack of an agreement on the sales tax led the Giambra administration to send out 3,000 layoff notices. Department heads also began the process of shutting down county functions, including the Emergency Training and Operations Center in Cheektowaga and county parks.