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Westchester County Sales Tax Hike To Kick In On Aug. 1

GREENBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- In a high-taxed county, they raised the sales tax, and patted themselves on the back for doing it.

Elected officials say the hike is the best way to stabilize Westchester County finances.

CBS2's Tony Aiello has the details on who will pay more, and where.

If you "Gotta Go To Mo's" in suburban Greenburgh, you might want to buy that $75 bat before Aug. 1. That's when a sales tax hike kicks in and the after-tax total climbs from $80.53 to $81.28.

Allison Lake is among the taxpayers resigned to dealing with it.

"Taxes is something we all have to live with and I happen to know that it's been a while since we have had an increase in sales tax," Lake said.

The new county-wide rate is 8.375 percent, the same as in neighboring Rockland County but still slightly lower than the 8.625 charged in suburban Nassau and Suffolk counties.

"It's hard to see that an increase in sales tax is a win, but sometimes it is the most modest and progressive solution," Yonkers state Sen. Shelley Mayer said.

A bipartisan group showed strong support for the tax hike, which was signed into law last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Westchester is calling this a "County Property Taxpayer Protection Act," but the protection is far from ironclad. In exchange for the sales tax hike, County Executive George Latimer is promising not to seek a property tax hike. However, nothing prevents the county board from voting to enact one.

"I do have a veto pen. I do have line item veto authority. They know I do," Latimer said.

Latimer said the deal will help towns, village and school districts, too. Their share of the increased sales tax revenue will top $60 million through the year 2020.

The sales tax hike is also expected to help the county's credit rating, which allows it to borrow money at lower rates.

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