By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO July 30, 2002 Earlier this year, one of the ideas former Legislature Chair Rusty Pomeroy proposed was a tax exemption for first-time homebuyers. The Legislature passed that into law on April 18, despite the objections of most of the assessors throughout the county.
Shortly thereafter, Pomeroy resigned, and Legislator Leni Binder was appointed chair. One of the first things Binder promised as chair was not to pass or implement anything without first consulting the town supervisors. Binder recently met with the supervisors and said that 80 percent of them are against the homebuyers law.
Binder wanted to discuss repealing the law at the Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, July 11. However, due to time constraints, that didnt happen. The meeting was recessed until Thursday, July 18, but again, due to time constraints, it was not discussed.
However, without any formal public discussion, a resolution was put forward at the monthly Legislature meeting on Thursday, July 18 to repeal the law. The resolution was introduced by Legislators Binder, Bob Kunis, Rodney Gaebel, Greg Goldstein, Jodi Goodman, and Jim Carnell Jr. Its inclusion angered and surprised the other legislators: Chris Cunningham, Kathleen LaBuda, and Jonathan Rouis.
"I am not sure why this resolution is here," remarked Cunningham. "This was not discussed in committee. Some of the legislators knew about it, while others did not. We should table it back to the Finance Committee. Give the courtesy to us for a proper discussion. Let's have respect for the process."
Cunningham made a motion to table the resolution. The only support that motion received was from LaBuda and Rouis. Once it died, the three legislators in the minority evidenced their frustration.
"This was not given a chance to work," commented Cunningham. "It is based on state law. It will stimulate growth. We should revisit the issue."
"When we passed this, I wanted to table it then, but I did not have the support. There was a rush to pass this," Gaebel stated. "The input against it far outweighed the requests to be in the program. The assessors were complaining. It was like we were shoving it down their throats."
All the legislators were given a chance to voice their opinion, and after all spoke, a vote was taken on the resolution. It passed 6-3, with Cunningham, LaBuda, and Rouis against it.
County Attorney Ira Cohen will shortly begin the paperwork to repeal the law.