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TAX BREAKS FOR FAVORED FEW ARE UNFAIR

In a Buffalo News' article Jan. 19 about a Niagara County Industrial Development Agency meeting of the previous day, the lead paragraph stated the agency was in a "generous mood." That was verified by the details that followed.

It is easy to be generous when it's other people's money they give away, while at the same time assessing monetary fees for the agency. While specific tax exemption amounts are noted, the associated fees that would accrue to the agency are not included.

It is noted that six projects came before the board of directors for approval. Nowhere are we given the names of the board members or how they voted. Our county legislators grant these publicly unknown, appointed individuals the power to override the tax laws we of the general public must conform to. Tax exemptions are a supreme product for the agency to sell with no cost basis for them.

There are projections of great "benefits to the local economy." This is the same carrot we have been chasing for the many years the agency has existed. Has the general public, mere taxpayers as we are seen, felt any benefit? Could any accountant verify the specifics of such statement?

Of the extensive television-reported questioning of John Ashcroft, was it not an effort to ensure that people be accorded "the equal protection of the laws" as required by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. That is what all legislators take an oath to uphold. There is no oath to any contrary act of the State Legislature to effect some vague economic benefit through inequitable taxation. Isn't equality of taxation as much a civil right as any other?

As 99 percent of us struggle with increasing taxes, we are doubly put upon to pick up the tab for those who can work the system to escape what should be an equally shared burden.

DONALD G. HOBEL

North Tonawanda

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