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NOV 11- NOV 19, 2014

We Asked People What They Think
About Proposed Tax Hike

By Tony Farina

November 11, 2014

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster announces he is proposing a tax increase.

Modest or not, depending on your point of view, a proposed tax increase to help balance the Niagara Falls budget for next year is not welcome news to most residents of the cataract city, at least those who know about.

While this newspaper has reported on the proposed shortfall in the budget for some time and the likelihood of a tax increase, Mayor Dyster confirmed the dire reports last week when he announced he would be proposing what he sees as a modest tax increase of 2.7 percent for homestead property owners and about 7.7 percent for commercial property owners.

The mayor tried to soothe the news by saying, according to reports in the Niagara Gazette, that compared to the cost of living increases over the last few years, tax increases since 2006, even including the current proposed hike, would still have only averaged about one half of a percent.

Well, modest or not, we sent a reporter out into the streets of Niagara Falls to try and take the pulse of taxpayers about the proposed hike even though some people we asked seemed to know nothing of the budget shortfall or the tax increase proposal. Now that seems a bit surprising, but nonetheless we have some answers from citizens to our question about what they think of the proposal to raise taxes. Some people agreed to speak on the record, others preferred to remain anonymous.

Meldie Smith – The mayor is a hypocrite. He is way over; he has gone over the edge as mayor. Income is so low. Three thousand people here [are] on public assistance. People are going to go homeless. Is that what he wants?

Tom (no last name) – “He is doin’ alright. He is doing ok. It depends. I think he is a good mayor. He thinks of the people. That’s good. He cares about the city and that’s good, too. When I saw him I told him people will vote for him. And I told him if you believe in the Lord, he’ll be a mayor.”

Charlene Heinz on 20th Street – “They shouldn’t be raising taxes; people can’t afford it. First they lower them then they make them higher. They’ve gotta get crime out of this city. The druggies. There’s nothing here for people. This is a rotten city to live in. Child molesters are here, they are on my street, too. There should be a sign here at McDonald’s. On my street the child molesters are watching the children like hawks.”

Bonnie Bee, 7-11 clerk, Pine Ave.- I didn’t know he tried raising taxes before and government wouldn’t let him. I thought we already had the highest taxes in the country already. I don’t know if they’ll let him do that.”

Mr. Singh, City Market Liquors – “I didn’t know about this. I haven’t heard about it. Taxes are already too high in New York State. What’s going on here?”

Ken Santos, 16th Street – “What can we do? We have to pay it. We have to grin and bear it. What can we do? We don’t have a choice.”

Angela Prestin, Rite Aid clerk – “I’m from PA and I’m getting ready to move back. New York taxes are way too high already. You know there are three employees that work here who have to buy $100 of school supplies for their kids. What’s going on with the tax money? I never had to buy this stuff in PA.”

Bob on Ontario Street – “There’s no tax base to tax. Most don’t even have any money. Most people are on a fixed income. Is Dyster pushing this? What’s going on? Is Dyster burning the money from the casino?”

Lady with two children – “Oh, I have no comment. Sorry.”

Man – anonymous “I don’t want to see taxes go up. I don’t see why Dyster doesn’t keep a clear eye on the money. Why didn’t the council people speak up?”

So there you have it. That’s the reaction we received when we asked people around the city last Saturday what they thought of the proposed tax increase to meet the budget deficit. As you might expect, most people reacted negatively to the idea of having their taxes raised.

.Whatever happens between now and the final budget numbers, we’ll keep you posted and if you want to know what’s going on, take the time to read the newspapers and find out so that you can be informed and register your opinion to city lawmakers about what you think is the best approach to deal with the city’s problems. Ignorance is no defense.





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Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina