Madison, Chenango counties join forces

Will said he couldn't understand why the state had stonewalled a local production tax for so long when 39 other states had adopted them.

"A production tax could mean a 15- to 30-percent property tax reduction," Will said. "Loss to the industry doesn't exist, not when they can pay anywhere from $1 to $4,000 an acre."

Bays said the question is how local municipalities can get in front of the state severance tax? How do we stop that momentum? This is such critical timing -- we have to send a message that the funds must be returned here -- we need to demonstrate what the impacts are here. The majority of any tax levied should be sent back here."

Goldstein recommended the counties each adopt a resolution opposing the state-level severance tax. He said the move would substantially lower property taxes, noise, traffic and infrastructure impacts.

"I don't think we'd have a problem getting a resolution against the state severance tax through our board," Goldstein said. "The loss of revenue to our towns would be astronomical. Madison County believes in local control because of the impacts and a history of unfunded mandate."

Supervisor Russell Cary of Fenner said he worried the group was focusing too much on the negative.

"We should be looking at the positive impacts, too," Cary said. "It can be a great asset if done right. There are some real positives. I hate the term 'tax,' but you can use revenue as a value-added aspect of the process. I see any energy as a positive."

Drafts of the proposed resolution circulated among members of the group the first week of April. The resolution asks for the state to put a moratorium on any statewide tax until every facet of the issue can be examined in depth.

The Madison County Board of Supervisors is expected to discuss the matter at its April 14 meeting.

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