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MASIELLO, COUNTY FAIL TO CUT GOOD DEALS FOR CITY

Buffalo is on a decline and no one seems willing to help. For almost nine years, I have been asking the county to share the "temporary" 1 percent sales tax, not only for Buffalo but for every city, town, village and school district in Erie County.

On March 28, 1991, the Erie County Governments Association passed a resolution submitted by Supervisor Ron Moline of Tonawanda and Supervisor John DiJoseph of Elma asking Erie County to negotiate with the local governments and school districts to share the 1 percent sales tax on a per-capita basis. This would mean a decrease in revenue for the City of Buffalo, but, as mayor, I agreed to the compromise. The resolution was passed unanimously.

Since that time a number of cities, towns, villages and school districts have passed resolutions to share the proceeds, but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears in the county executive office, along with the County Legislature, State Legislature and the governor's office.

A recent issue of The News reported that Mayor Masiello intends to "hold the State Legislature" responsible for failing to enact legislation permitting Buffalo to share the additional 1 percent sales tax. If he were honest with himself and the residents of Buffalo, he should admit he was a large part of the problem.

When he was in the State Senate, he not only refused to help Buffalo, but he also voted to reduce Buffalo's state aid from $72 million to $47 million in three years. Now he's crying wolf.

Tony Masiello, when he became mayor of Buffalo, negotiated the worst deal possible in sharing the bed tax -- the tax we imposed to fund the Buffalo Convention Center. Because of his administration's inept negotiating with the county, the City of Buffalo, through the end of the Convention Center lease in the year 2010, will lose $17 million.

Add to the loss of the sales tax and the bed tax the Masiello administration's handling of the Buffalo school desegregation suit, which will cost Buffalo residents $100 million. To add insult to injury, the mayor hires back Steve Banko for $59,000 and a "technocrat" for a salary to be determined.

In 1995 the county realized $94,384,075 and in 1996 the county budgeted $96,000,000 in revenues for the "temporary" 1 percent sales tax, which it keeps for its own use.

JIM GRIFFIN
Former Mayor of Buffalo
Buffalo

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