The contest for Erie County comptroller – mostly obscured by the 2021 marquee elections for Buffalo mayor and Erie County sheriff – is easing into the region's political discourse as Republican-backed Lynne M. Dixon issues a new plan outlining her priorities for the office.
The 25-point proposal, to be released today, revolves around "helping senior citizens, small businesses, and taxpayers," her campaign said. Her "signature item," she added, is allowing senior citizens on a fixed income and small business owners to pay property taxes monthly, instead of annually.
Erie County Republicans have officially chosen Lynne M. Dixon as their candidate for comptroller this year.
“Rising property taxes have driven too many senior citizens out of their homes and have added to the financial struggles small business owners face every day. They both need our help." Dixon said. "I will study the process and propose a plan to the Legislature that will eliminate the large tax bill seniors pay right after Christmas, replacing it with manageable monthly payments that fit better into their lifestyle."
Dixon, a former county legislator who waged a competitive but unsuccessful campaign for county executive in 2019, faces Democrat Kevin R. Hardwick in November after current Republican Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw Jr. opted against re-election in favor of a bid for Hamburg supervisor.
Her plan appears to address a wide variety of county financial issues, ranging from studying the effects of lowering the sales tax, to strengthening whistleblower protection, to expanding paid child care leave. But she also seizes upon some of the top political buzzwords of the year – "defund the police."
Dixon says the movement ignores realities and fails to address defunding impact on at-risk communities. She also does not believe "residents have a full understanding of police services we pay for that aren’t mandated."
"Someone has to do this because the office has become hyperpolitical," said Hardwick, a Republican-turned-Democrat from the City of Tonawanda.
"Those services would be first on the chopping block if these policies take hold, and the outcome would be higher crime and communities that are less safe," she said. "As taxpayer watchdog, I will speak out against it and speak up for the police.”
Dixon's plan also recommends operational changes to the Comptroller’s Office to include expanded community outreaches, updating county payment terms, changing asset control policies, restoring the Division of Reporting’s function, evaluating county banking contracts and implementing an "aggressive audit schedule."
“One of the most important aspects of any type of public service is fighting for transparency," she said. "That is why I wanted to release my full campaign platform at once so voters have the opportunity to read for themselves what my plan will be as their Comptroller and taxpayer watchdog.”