Schenectady County budget passes

Martin Finn, D-Niskayuna, who voted against party lines on the budget, said it was not an easy decision for him, but he is not in favor of increasing taxes at this time.

"It was a very difficult vote for me because I saw how hard Kathy Rooney and her staff worked, trying to do the best they can and in terrible circumstances," said Finn. "I saw how hard Philip Fields did the best he could paring down the county manager's budget. I understand that they're doing the best they can with a scalpel."

He also said he believes the overall size of government should be smaller.

"Having spent the last several months walking around my district and talking to people who can't afford the taxes they're already paying, I couldn't approve a tax increase," said Finn of his vote.

Farley said that the GOP's version of the budget set a tax levy decrease of 2 percent and pared it down to $59 million.

"We're in a situation where they raised taxes again. They've done it virtually every year since they've been in office," said Farley of the county Democrats.

Angelo Santabarbara, R-Rotterdam, said he was also concerned about the effect the tax increase would have on residents.

"The people we represent have asked us for tax relief. As their elected representatives, it's our job to find a way to deliver that relief," said Santabarbara before voting against the budget proposal. "This county is already the 12th highest taxed county in the nation, and this budget does not do enough to reduce taxes -- it raises taxes. I believe we can do more and actually cut taxes this year; we just need to be willing to do it."

Hughes said legislators did consider the GOP proposals for reducing the budget, but felt that many of the calculations were off the mark.

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