April 28, 2006
Fulton Sales Tax Agreement Is a Win-Win Proposition
When the County Legislature voted April 13 to include Fulton in the county sales tax structure, it removed barriers to economic development that have existed for decades in our county.
The negative effects of sales tax disputes between municipalities became very evident last year when Granby and Fulton struggled over the location of a proposed Wal-Mart super store. Instead of competing with neighboring counties to bring in new retail business and the sales tax income that follows, we watched two of our own municipalities compete with each other for revenue that could benefit us all.
The agreement between the City of Fulton and the County Legislature is a win-win resolution for all Oswego County residents. It builds a positive business climate for retail growth by removing the tax boundaries that have separated Fulton from the surrounding towns. It allows the City of Fulton, the towns and the county to work cooperatively to expand our economic base, to the benefit of all residents.
Another very important aspect of the sales tax resolution is the fact that it will help create much-needed jobs. The agreement makes our business climate more conducive to new retail development, resulting in new construction jobs during the building phase and new positions in the retail sector.
The Legislature voted 21 to 4 to approve the agreement. This would not have happened without the commitment and support of members of the Legislature – from the towns and the city - who negotiated the agreement with the City of Fulton.
I would like to personally thank the following legislators who were on the negotiating committee: Jack Proud, District 7, Mexico; Kim Seager, District 10, Phoenix, Schroeppel, Volney; and Phil Vasho, District 22, Fulton and Granby. Another thank you to the City’s team: Mayor Daryl Hayden and Executive Assistant to the Mayor Ron Woodward.
The fact that the Fulton Common Council unanimously supported this resolution also speaks volumes. It demonstrates the city’s commitment to the economic growth of our region as a whole. The agreement also helps eliminate confusion over which municipality receives sales tax from mail order and on-line purchases.
There are a number of steps that remain to be taken before the amendment is finalized. But we recognize that bringing in more sales tax helps us continue to give tax relief to property tax payers – homeowners as well as large industries and small businesses – across Oswego County.
Oswego County is unique in that we were the last county in New York State to adopt a countywide sales tax. When the county sales tax took effect in 1997, it provided a necessary additional source of revenue to county government as well as the towns and villages. Every year since then, a portion of the county sales tax revenue has been returned to the towns and villages, based on their population. In 2005, more than $3.8 million was paid to the local municipalities. That income helps to keep local property taxes stable.
The cities of Fulton and Oswego, who had sales tax laws in place for several decades, chose to maintain their local tax jurisdictions when the County Legislature enacted the county sales tax 10 years ago. With the agreement to amend the sales tax structure, Fulton is guaranteed to receive a minimum of $6,105,840 annually from the county.
Inter-municipal cooperation is vital to encouraging investment in a community. I am proud of the leadership shown by the City of Fulton and our own Legislators as we continue to pursue opportunities for economic growth.
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