Another perspective

Joe Illuzzi runs politicswny.com. I've never met him, and I don't know who he is. I don't know how he got to where he is now. I link to him despite the fact that he doesn't return my e-mails and doesn't offer me a reciprocal link. I don't have thousands to spend on an ad on his profit-making site. That being said, I read his site every day. Sometimes more than once. Apparently many other people do, too. He was kind enough to post the WNY Co 4 Pro's statement on the county budget crisis at his site this week, so big ups for that. Here's his take on the sales tax issue:
"There is a classic cultural/indeological divide between the '5' Republicans & the City reps; this is part of the problem. In Holt & Smith's districts the services provided by government are absolutely essential. Where in Amherst, OP, etc. I doubt very much that Clinics, Senior Centers, Transportation, etc., play a great role in the day to day lives of the voters in these towns. BUT this does not excuse these Legislators from taking the responsible position via this population. What we have here is a number of affluent whites gutting services for poor Blacks. Giambra MUST bear responsibility for this debacle. There is no question in my mind that there will be either a sales tax increase by June 1st or a HUGE property tax increase by January 1, 2006. The reason quite simple: There is an additional $80 - 100 million gap, in addition to the $100 million in cuts, in the 2005 budget that will create havoc in 2006 ... $54 million in non occurring revenue, sales tax coming in at the 5 year average of 4-5% as opposed to Giambra's 9-10% assumption, increased cost of borrowing & debt service, contractual obligations, etc. "
Balgar has also argued on these very pages that what's going on is a class struggle. I disagree. I don't think this is about class or racism at all. I think that the tax revolt that we're witnessing stems from these two things: 1. The taxpayers of Erie County feel that they're taxes are high enough; and 2. Government needs to learn to do more with less. Balgar argues (and I strenuously disagree) that the county has a duty to keep unneeded and non-essential employees around because we somehow owe it to them to provide them with employment. We only need the services we can afford to provide, and/or the services the county provides need to be performed as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. Government can't come looking for a handout from everyone because some special interest or another needs/wants/obtained some new benefit or another. It's about time county services' benefactors had a say.

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