Niagara Gazette

Opinion

November 20, 2012

GUEST VIEW: City council must vote no on tax increase

Niagara Gazette — Mayor Dyster was correct when he described his “2013 Proposed Budget” as a disaster budget. It is a disaster! A disaster that the taxpayers cannot afford to pay for! A disaster that should have been avoided by putting an end to all unnecessary spending as soon as we stopped receiving casino revenue which was three years ago. A disaster that can be avoided if city council members cut the unnecessary spending.

Unnecessary spending such as subsidizing outside agencies that the taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize including $3.1 million to USA Niagara in which our contract with them is subject to renewal at the end of the year, millions of dollars in consultant fees, hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary increases for appointed positions, raises for exempt employees, a train station that we can’t afford to maintain, $700,000+ on concerts for Hard Rock Café, etc.

Also, taking a lump sum payment of $13.45 million from the New York Power Authority to close the budget gap is not the solution especially when the taxpayers could lose $23.95 million by doing so ($850,000 x 44 years = $37.4 million or a lump sum payment of $13.45 million equals a loss of $23.95 million). The solution is to cut the budget, stop spending money that we do not have, and stop relying on casino revenue that we may never receive, as it is very apparent that our state elected officials and the Seneca Nation have a total disregard for the taxpayers of Niagara Falls. Especially the Seneca Nation, which has withheld $58 million+ and still expect the taxpayers to pay for and provide services for them.

We received a city tax increase in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. This will raise our taxes an astounding 8.3 percent.

The taxpayers cannot afford the outrageous taxes that we have to pay now let alone being forced to pay even more. These continuous tax increases are detrimental to the residents and business owners of this city. They are forcing residents out of their homes and business owners out of business as well as discouraging future residents and businesses from locating here.

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