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BUFFALO DESERVES ITS FAIR SHARE OF SALES TAX

It seems that there is an impasse over how to solve the city's fiscal crisis. Buffalo officials say the city needs a larger share of the sales tax revenue (and they're right) and the county executive says if he gives up the county's share for the city, county taxes will have to be increased (and he's right).

The city's major problem is its inability to grow its tax base. Every new development planned for Buffalo would pay no taxes. There is a new Federal Courthouse, public safety campus and casino planned for downtown Buffalo. None of these facilities would pay any real estate taxes. In fact, 40 percent of the property in the city is exempt from paying property taxes. Many of these facilities are regional facilities such as Studio Arena, Shea's, HSBC Arena, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Historical Society, Buffalo Zoo and Science Museum.

I think it's fair to say that more suburban citizens utilize these facilities than city residents, so why should only the city be burdened with shouldering the cost of these and many more facilities?

Are Buffalo residents the only ones to use the federal offices, county offices, courts, state offices and regional charities? The answer is no. So logic would say, "Why should the city get stuck paying for these facilities?"

Erie County needs a new way of distributing sales tax revenue. Instead of distributing it throughout the county by population, it should be distributed by the percentage of tax-exempt property located in the municipality.

If Buffalo has 40 percent of all tax-exempt property, then it should receive 40 percent of all sales tax revenue. Buffalo taxpayers can no longer carry the load for the entire county. The city needs its fair share, not a handout.

ROCCO TERMINI

Burke Brothers Construction

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