NEW CITY, NY (WCBS 880) – You don’t usually hear of a business group supporting a new tax.

WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi On The Story

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Because Rockland County is in dire straits, Rockland Business Association president Al Samuels is giving his okay to a 3 percent hotel occupancy tax.

“We have constantly asked our elected officials to be statesmen. We cannot ask that unless we’re willing to be statesmen, too,” he said Thursday. “We need to look at our county as our home venue and we need to do whatever we can, I believe, to make it whole again.”

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Samuels say a hotel occupancy tax would raise money for the county, but he wants to see 50 percent of the revenue invested in Rockland tourism.

“If we were to accept a 3 percent, that is at the lowest level of any other county in area,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Catherine Cioffi. “Any revenue increase is going to help as long as it is used to satisfy the debt.”

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Rockland County currently has a $50 million budget gap.