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LEGISLATORS BALK AT RESCINDING MOTEL BED TAX

Allegany County legislators Monday refused to begin a process to rescind a motel bed tax.

For the second time this month, lawmakers could not muster the votes to schedule a public hearing on a local law to repeal the tax. Legislators Robert Heineman and Brent Reynolds, both R-Alfred, and Robert K. Sobeck and Daniel Russo, both R-Wellsville, introduced the resolution.

They had backed a similar proposal introduced Oct. 12 by the Finance Committee that was also defeated on the floor.

Operators of two Alfred hostelries, Alan Burdick, who with his wife runs a bed and breakfast, and Chirag Patel, proprietor of College Inn Motel, asked the Legislature to schedule the hearing.

Burdick said the state sales tax and 4 percent bed tax he imposes on top of his $130-per-night rate discourage repeat customers.

Patel said he has had to decrease his room rates to maintain repeat customers in the wake of the bed tax, which was imposed less than a year ago.

A motion to refer the proposal to the Ways and Means Committee failed, and a vote to schedule a public hearing failed in an 8-6 vote.

Several legislators said they would want at least a year's experience with the tax before considering whether to alter it. Projections are that it can bring in between $70,000 and $90,000 per year in revenue.

A public hearing is the first step in considering a local law, and such a law is necessary to repeal an existing law.

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