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Giambra: County needs new revenue stream

James Fink
Business First

A quarterly financial report, issued late Wednesday afternoon by Erie County Joel Giambra, shows that the county's budget deficit reached $15.52 million and is on its way to hitting the $60 million mark by the end of the year.

The bleak financial forecast verifies what Giambra has been saying for the past few months and serves as a backdrop for his renewed effort to put pressure on the Erie County Legislature to increase the local sales tax by 1 percent.

The Legislature has repeatedly rebuffed Giambra's efforts, causing deep frustration on the 16th floor of the Rath Building and forcing draconian layoffs and service reductions, all since February.

Raising the sales tax by 1 percent may be viewed as political suicide, given the mood of many county residents, but it may be necessary to keep Erie County financially solvent, Giambra said.

"You can't cut your way out of this problem," Giambra said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference. "We need a new revenue source."

To increase the sales tax, Giambra needs 10 of the 15 legislators to approve the home-rule measure, which would then be passed on to Albany for approval in the state Senate and Assembly.

Repeated efforts to garner the 10 votes have failed.

"The ball is in the Erie County Legislature's court, not Albany's," Giambra said. "I don't know what more I can do. This is a circus that has to stop."

Giambra fears because all 15 legislators are up for re-election this year and only two, Steven McCarville (R-Orchard Park) and Raymond Dusza (D-Cheektowaga), have said they are not seeking another term, that the sales tax issue will remain in limbo, despite the dire financial projections.

"It's time to put aside politics and voter reprisal and do the right thing," Giambra said.

**Giambra, a complete moron.

I dunno why he thinks politics should be set aside, in this case the tax payers are not going to re-elect anyone who raises the taxes again, why do that? What the Erie County tax payers are saying is "show responsibility" and Giambra and a few others just are not doing that. Buffalo City will likely lower property tax rates, and Erie county wants to raise the county sales tax...this is like one step forward, one step back...and with that, no progress.

Financially Erie County and Buffalo would be fine if they downsized all the services to "normal levels", but they insist that things simply would not work.

I say it again, lower taxes now, give business a chance and in the long run, both people and government will have the moneys for things wanted and needed.
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