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Brown tells tax relief panel of need for new revenue

Cutting property taxes is a laudable goal, but will work for Buffalo only if it comes with mandate relief and an increase in sales tax revenue, Mayor Byron W. Brown told a state Commission on Property Tax Relief hearing Thursday.

Like other local governments, Buffalo operates under a state-imposed fiscal paradigm that includes "an overly high reliance on the property tax to generate revenue," the mayor said.

Unlike the others, however, the city receives "a disproportionately low share of the sales tax" -- less than 12 percent, compared with 25 percent for Rochester and nearly 35 percent for Syracuse, he said.

In formulating tax relief, Albany "should do its share and provide us with three key ingredients -- mandate relief, authorizations for new sources of revenue and, once again, stable and consistent state aid," Brown said.

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