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In a party-line 13-12 vote Wednesday night, the Chautauqua County Legislature approved a $145 million tax-cutting budget for 1998.

The package includes a cut in the county's full value tax rate of 25 cents, reducing that to $8.85 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The Democratic minority tried to cut taxes even further. Minority Leader Nancy Bargar, D-Lakewood, proposed an amendment that would have cut an additional $700,000 from the county's fund balance to reduce taxes.

Ms. Bargar said: "The only way to make Chautauqua County a better place to do business is to cut taxes. The county's credit rating is already protected. We are not jeopardizing that in any way."

Legislator Joseph Trusso, D-Lakewood, said: "Give the people the tax break they deserve. Give them a break not in the neck but in the pocket book."

Republicans countered the proposal was fiscally irresponsible.

Legislator Gilbert Miekina, R-West Ellicott, said: "We are building a solid economic climate in Chautauqua County. Businesses don't want a yo-yo effect in their taxes."

The amendment was defeated in a party-line 13-12 vote, and the budget was then approved.

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