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The Business Page

Welcome to the business page, a blog where I'll take you behind the scenes of greater Rochester's fast-changing economy. My name is Ben Rand, and I intend to introduce you to some of the personalities, concepts and events that make news in business here. I've been a business reporter for eight years in Rochester and a journalist for 18, working in four states. I grew up in Pittsford, but moved away after college for about a decade. My wife and I live in Irondequoit with our two children.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Monroe County's budget

Maggie Brooks has announced her plan to reduce Monroe County's deficit, which is expected to top $100 million over the next two years. It's a complex proposal, headlined by a potential boost in the sales tax from 8 percent to 8.75 percent, which county officials say would cost an average of about $150 a year.

Opponents are lining up. One of the main complaints comes from business, which fears that the increase would make the region even more uncompetitive.

This could very well be true, but in reading Brooks' analysis, it is clear that inaction is not an option. To close the deficit through cuts, she claims, would require very severe cutbacks, such as closing the Seneca Park Zoo. I would submit that cuts like these would far more damage to our ability to market this community.

That leaves two choices: Increase the sales tax, or increase the property tax. Brooks has made her choice. Here's a look at the Democratic proposal (written by a former colleague.)

Let the debate unfold.


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