View Full Version : Buffalo should impose a commuter tax
June 8th, 2003, 01:24 PM
A friend and I have been having many discussions about the ongoing financial problems of the City of Buffalo, and possible solutions. He has even suggested in a letter to Council President James Pitts that the city impose a commuter tax on all city employees who reside outside of Buffalo. Before we all roll our eyes and say, "Oh no, not another tax," let's look at this a bit more closely. If the city were to impose even a 1 percent tax on 1,500 employees each making average of $58,000, the tax revenue generated would amount to $870,000. The City of Columbus, Ohio, imposes a 2 percent income tax on all individuals who work in the city. In 2000, this tax generated $318 million that represented 63 percent of the total general fund revenues.
This tax would possibly eliminate the pressure being put on Erie County to share the sales tax revenue, thus preventing property tax increases.
I realize that as a suburban resident, the city may not be interested in my suggestion, but Buffalo has so much to offer it would be a shame to let it fall into bankruptcy. There is a wonderful theater district, incredible architecture, and so much potential on the waterfront. Let's focus on saving the city before it's too late. This tax should be considered along with the other solutions.
ANNE F. SIMON
June 9th, 2003, 10:12 AM
Wow... what a great idea. Anne, what do you think is going to happen if the city goes bankrupt? Will demolition crews arrive to tear down the incredible architecture and theatre district? Of course not. What it means is the current leadership of the city will be removed and replaced by a different group of people. Also, if this happens, it could be a watershed event that cound trigger political change throughtout the region. and Some People Do Not Want That To Happen.
The city (and WNY) needs fundamental structural change, not another open wound to feed upon. Aren't you tired of paying some of the highest taxes in the nation? And for what? You could pay similiar taxes in places like San Francisco or NYC, but there's a difference: those places are awesome places to live, tonawanda is not...
Don't be a chicken little, Anne. Have to courage to deviate from "this is the way it's always been done" thinking. Of course, some civil service employees you may know might lose their jobs, but it will be better for everyone in the long run. Kind of like quitting smoking or any other addiction - it's uncomfortable at first but much better for you in the end.
June 9th, 2003, 10:45 AM
Everyone believes we need to throw more and more money in to the issues we face in WNY.
People lose thier jobs and take pay cuts everyday in the private sector, why are civil employees and union city employees exempt from this?
Because they made the rules.
June 9th, 2003, 01:15 PM
A commuter tax for Buffalo....what a brilliant idea. And since Amherst has budget problems yet many industrial parks, Amherst should do a commuter tax too.
As a matter of fact, every town should be doing this. Look at Lockport...the 5,000 people who work for Delphi can't all possibly live there. I smell a cash cow.
This people calling for a commuter tax forget that the business already pays taxes, that employees bring economic activity to the community where they work and more employers will simply leave downtown for the burbs if such a dumb idea is enacted.
July 2nd, 2003, 08:28 PM
Wow, how long did you think this idea through? Any idea the proposal o such an outrageous idea would stop any new business from setting up in the city and would accelerate any existing ones to get out of dodge before it was voted into law? Do you have a clue if this would be a positive or negative thing for the city?....a hint...it would not be good.
Do you honestly think more taxes are the answer there, in case you had not missed it, high taxes are what has really helped put the area into the soup it is in.
Maybe making the area attractive to employers (I know all companies are greedy and awful) so less people are unemployed, underemployed etc, their is less of a drag on public resources, and more contribution to it things might change.
So think again before you think more taxes are the answer, the area has followed that mold for decades and where do you see it got the area?
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