It's been my opinion that the area that will most benefit from some form of regional government would be Buffalo itself. By expanding the tax base to include both wealthier suburbs and the urban core, the tax wealth gets spread about and places like Buffalo get to benefit from places like Clarence, and hopefully the whole area would strengthen and improve, which would, in turn, grow the region and help places like Clarence. It would turn Buffalo's death spiral into a regional growth cycle. Rod Watson doesn't get it. He argues in today's News that the county budget crisis proves that regionalism is bad for Buffalo. I think he's wrong. I think it proves that the region can do with one less government, and the county's proven that it's the one that has to go. But what really pissed me off about Watson's column today is this line:
Who cares if funding is pulled from a regional economic development fund that could rebuild the urban core? The suburbs will still have the businesses they've pirated from downtown.
That's one of my biggest pet peeves about Buffalo: that people are eager and quick to pit the city against the suburbs. It's counterproductive and, frankly, ignorant. I'm sorry to see Watson do this. I'm sorry because he consistently advocates for the betterment of Buffalo's urban core; and I don't think he gets the fact that the city and suburbs will sink or swim together. Pitting one against the other does nothing but breed resentment. Watson misses the point completely. He advocates that poor people will be hard-hit by services and criticizes people in wealthier communities (who, by the way, are not necessarily wealthy themselves), for standing up to the confiscatory tax policies that have kept the region back for so long. And Watson further misses the point: the people who would be hardest hit by a regressive sales tax would be the very poor people for whom he’s supposedly advocating. Watson says that suburban taxpayers have a "we've got ours, and we're not paying for anybody else's" mentality. Well, if the local unions didn’t have a we’ve got ours, and nothing’s going to change it” mentality, maybe an accord could have been reached. Bogulski and his crew are as much to blame as Giambra. The people spoke, Rod. But I do agree with one thing he mentions in his column: The county legislature must go. As must all county government. Then Rod can have what is apparently his dream: that the City pay for its own programs. Then he can stuff his suburbophobia.

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