Q: Do you support County Executive Joel Giambra's proposal to raise the sales tax by 1 percentage point?
How could anyone who owns property in Erie County not support Joel Giambra's proposal to raise the sales tax by 1 percentage point to offset the $130 million budget gap for next year?
If the ratio of homeowners to non-homeowners is roughly 50 percent, those who own homes should not and cannot offset the $130 million deficit by themselves. What is fairer than having 100 percent of county residents paying an additional penny in sales tax? Property owners can't foot all the bills.
Raymond Ostrowski, Buffalo
No, I do not support Joel Giambra in raising the sales tax. When is enough going to be enough? How much more are the people of Erie County supposed to take? We cannot afford to pay another cent more than we are already paying. It's time for Giambra to show that he is a true leader and take a pay cut. He can also ditch his $81,000-a-year driver, whom we pay for. Although this will not balance our projected deficit, it would be a step in the right direction.
Christine DeDominces, Lake View
Yes, I support Joel Giambra's proposal to raise the sales tax by 1 percentage point simply because everyone will be affected, not just the homeowner. It's not fair for homeowners to continuously foot the bill. The county will get monies that it wouldn't get from just a property tax increase. It makes sense.
Carole Getz, Buffalo
I do not support the sales tax increase. How about cutting expenses by eliminating Joel Giambra's driver and car, along with those for other officials? And why didn't Giambra see the deficit coming when he was cutting taxes and spending millions of dollars on furniture?
Marty Staniszewski, Town of Tonawanda
I definitely agree with Joel Giambra's proposal to raise the sales tax by 1 percent. In fact, I favor 1.5 percent -- 1 percent for the county and .5 percent for Buffalo. Raising sales tax does not hurt any group of individuals. Everyone pays. Albany is wrong. Our state legislators have no idea what they are doing. All politicians in Albany should be voted out.
Edward B. Decz, Buffalo
No, I do not support Joel Giambra's proposal to raise the sales tax by 1 percent, nor do I support the proposal to raise property taxes. Like all other property owners and taxpayers, I'm sick and tired of having my pocket picked by our tax-and spend-legislators. It's about time they cleaned up their own house and got rid of the patronage jobs, inflated salaries, free cars, free gas and all the rest of the perks they have given themselves over the years. The party is over. Maybe it's time for a taxpayer revolution. We can't afford any more taxes!
Lorraine Brubaker, Buffalo
A tax increase will only exacerbate the exodus of our children and businesses from Western New York, so any increase is self-defeating. A sales tax increase would be the most fair but would hurt lower income people the most. Next time you meet your state representative, be sure to thank them for creating this fiscal mess.
Jim Bialasik, Springville
I say no to Joel Giambra's tax plan. He has to be a fool. We are way overtaxed already. Can't he tell by the number of people and jobs that are leaving New York? If he wants to do something good for Erie County, he should resign.
James Kazmierczak, Cheektowaga
I do not. If Joel Giambra had been serious about keeping costs down, he would not have drained the county coffers by his total fiscal mismanagement. Furniture purchases, profligate spending at the Aurora highway barn, a computer system that doesn't work, a multimillion dollar face-lift to the Rath Building and no-bid contracts and high-end jobs to favored friends and family have proved to me that he has absolutely no conception of fiscal responsibility.
John Braungart, Amherst
No! Elected officials should be required to do what directors of agencies do to provide services for the people they serve: fund-raise and think outside the box. They should consider creative fund-raisers, such as Pataki Pasta Dinners, Wrap It Up With Reynolds Gift Wraps, Clinton Car Washes, Gambling Nights with Giambra, Shrimp-a-Thons with Schimminger and Mystery Tours with Masiello. These could raise millions, with all proceeds to benefit Medicaid.
Veronica Hogle, Buffalo
Yes, I support the 1 cent Medicaid penny. I hope Albany can come up some fix in 2005. I wish I knew which politicians are holding up Medicaid reform.
John LaMarca, Tonawanda