New York is what is called a home rule state.....Local governments derive their authority to govern based on actions of the State Legislature.
For instance, a city can regulate taxi cabs because the Legislature said so. Regulating the sale of alcohol is not something local governments are authorized to do.
So, in many cases, for a local government to impose say, a sales tax, there is a requirement for home rule legislation. Sometimes that legislation is written with sunsets, such as the .75% issue being considered now.
Sunsets are put in to create the illusion of the tax being temporary, and they allow the state legislator sponsoring the bill to have leverage over local decisions.
Due to etiquette, you pretty much have to have your local Senators or Members of Assembly carry the bill or it will not pass.
Many home rule bills are perfunctory, but ones that carry taxes are sensitive. While passing a home rule bill may seem a harmless way to help a local government, a political foe can easily add up all those home rule bills and declare that lawmaker to be a chronic taxer.
That is what was done when Assemblywoman Scozzafava ran for Congress, although her campaign suffered from other woes as well.
One example would be legislation that would allow the City of Watertown to increase fees for death certificates...It required home rule and normally a legislator would get this approved. Not so this year as no one wants their fingerprints on any tax or fee. In this case its no big deal, but in the case of sales tax it is a big deal for local governments.
That is why in exchange for carrying the water on this tax, Senator Patty Ritchie was able to extract from the County certain promises her office felt important.
"Yes I raised taxes, but in doing so I ensured economic growth by helping meet the critical housing needs of our brave soldiers and their families," the press release should read.
That's not Reaganesque, but it is Reagenesque.