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REGION WILL NEVER THRIVE UNLESS IT LOWERS TAXES

By adding more than $1 billion to last year's budget, our state lawmakers rejected the notion that New York's solutions lie more in its ability to contain costs than in its ability to raise revenue. The expanded budget ultimately provides more incentive for relocation and the procurement of goods and services elsewhere.

According to the last U.S. Census, New York State ranked first in population and third in business loss. Instead of holding state representatives accountable, many have simply voiced their disdain by leaving and ceding the fight to place the needs of New York State residents before those of unions and special-interest groups.

In contrast, witness the positive changes at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, once one of the costliest airports to use and now among the cheapest. Twenty percent of the airport's daily traffic flow now emanates from Canadian markets and is the direct result of its newfound cost competitiveness. The outcome is true testament to the economic benefits that could be reaped were we as a region to compete on a price basis.

To do so, we must demand improved cost management and lower tax levels to attract new people, businesses and economic activity. We must also embrace efforts to replace our antiquated system of governance with a more streamlined and consolidated version.

Richard Smith

Amherst