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June 22, 2013

Bed-tax law, plan for AMC stalled; START-UP NY OK'd by Assembly

Assembly OKs START-UP NY

MALONE — It seemed unlikely on Friday that Franklin County would win state permission this session to create a 5 percent occupancy fee.

And a measure that would allow Adirondack Medical Center/Lake Placid to reduce its hours to part time was likely left hanging as well.



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OCCUPANCY FEE

Bill A07966 in the Assembly and S05742 in the Senate seek to add 5 percent to the bills of overnight guests and to use the money exclusively for tourism initiatives in Franklin County.

Estimates are that $350,000 to $400,000 a year would be collected initially.

The Assembly version of the bill was read on the floor and moved for action Thursday but was not voted upon.

The Senate version was referred to the Investigations and Government Operations Committee on June 11 and had not budged as of Friday afternoon.

“The leadership of the State Senate will not pass anything that has the word ‘tax’ in it,” said Franklin County Legislature Chairman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay).

‘POLITICAL PRESSURE’

Ironically, he was attending a meeting Friday morning of the county’s new Tourism Advisory Committee when he received a call from Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) with an update on progress at the State Legislature session.

The committee was created to not only figure out a marketing plan to increase tourism with the money it receives from Franklin County but to prioritize how any bed-tax money would be spent if the bill were to become law.

“There’s still time, but it looks like it’s not going to go,” Jones said of the bed-tax effort this session.

“The Senate and some others in the Assembly are getting political pressure.”

NEXT SESSION

Jones’s frustration was evident as he spoke.

“I’ve said it a million times — it’s not a tax. It’s a marketing tool for economic development,” he said. 

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