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The local economy is adversely affected by the malaise of New York State taxation, Medicaid mandates and a generally unfriendly business climate.

County Executive Joel Giambra complains, and perhaps rightfully so, that the methodology imposed upon Erie County for Medicaid funding has wreaked havoc on county finances. He laments that every dollar generated by real property taxes is allocated to Medicaid costs.

His proposal to ameliorate the financial crisis is to raise the sales tax from 8.25 percent to 9.25 percent, rather than to raise the already outrageous real property taxes.

Tragically, every time the state and county face a budget problem, they do one thing. They pursue a tax or fee increase to "address" the problem. But, of course, a tax or fee increase only puts a Band-Aid on the symptom, merely covering it up until it bleeds again.

We cannot tolerate another sales tax jump; to do so will only exacerbate our ongoing battle to survive. Giambra should drop the ill-advised sales tax proposal and direct his well-paid lobbyists to get into the State Legislature to insist upon some real reforms. The very essence of our community is at stake.

Nicholas P. Amigone, III


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