Niagara Gazette — O’Laughlin said that while he understands state mandates play significant roles in the overall county budget, there is plenty of “pork” approved each year, items like attorney salaries that he believes could be reduced or eliminated altogether. He noted that many lawyers on the county payroll are also donors to local campaigns, including his opponent’s committee and others in the county’s Republican-led majority.
“These are the guys that are giving directions to people and I haven’t taken any of those directions,” O’Laughlin said, referring to members of the Republican majority like Ross. “I’m trying to remain free of all that.”
O’Laughlin said part of his “frustration” with county government stems from lawmakers’ handling of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency. He questions the level of return the community is receiving from tax and other benefits doled out by the agency, saying he’s concerned too few jobs are being created for the cost borne by local taxpayers. He’s also concerned that too many of those jobs are being given to workers from outside the area.
“We get some jobs, but we should have a whole lot more. I find that very frustrating,” he said.
Ross said it is a “tough decision” any time incentives are offered to business owners, but believes it is often necessary and appropriate to do so given the level of competition for jobs in the marketplace. Generally, he believes the NCIDA and the county’s Center for Economic Development have done a good job of helping to create and retain positions amid intense competition.
“You are competing against not only other communities in New York state but surrounding states,” Ross said. “If you don’t have some type of incentive program, you’re not going to get them in.”