I was wondering what I would blog about today. But then I ran across this editorial from The Buffalo News entitled “Poor Area, High Taxes.”
Please read it carefully. This is happening everywhere. And understand the message: The elections on Nov. 2 are critical to our future. Please get out and vote!
“That Western New York’s property taxes are high hardly qualifies as news, but a new report on just how bad they are couldn’t have come at a more useful time.
The report by the Tax Foundation measures property taxes against the value of their properties. By that measure, nine of the 10 highest taxed counties in the entire nation are in New York and three are in Western New York. The only non-New York county in the top 10 is Camden County, N.J.If one or two New York counties showed up on that list, it would be interesting. For nine to appear on it is revelatory. That’s not an accident. It’s not a coincidence. It’s an indictment.
New Yorkers’ property taxes are out of line with the rest of the nation. That’s not a problem with local officials in a few counties overspending. It’s something that each of these counties has in common and that something is this: They exist in the spendthrift state of New York.
New York pours unfunded mandates onto local governments the way a wino pours Muscatel — recklessly. Schools, cities and counties are all burdened by high-dollar requirements that don’t exist in other states. Labor laws make it nearly impossible to repair unsustainable union contracts that drain local coffers.
The consequence is that businesses and people move elsewhere, leaving an increasingly smaller population behind to cope with an ever-increasing burden. According to the Empire Center for New York State Policy ,1.7 million people have moved out of this state in the last decade. From 1993 to 2007, the center’s recent “EnterprisingNY” study found, New York lost 407,558 jobs while gaining only 259,090 — a net loss of 148,468, and that was before the recession.
And nowhere is the burden heavier than in Western New York, whose population has cratered over the past few decades.
Who can be surprised, then, that Niagara County is the nation’s second-highest taxed county as a percentage of median home value? Or that Chautauqua County is the fifth highest or that Erie County is sixth? Other New York counties on the list are Monroe, at No. 1; Wayne, Chemung, Onondaga, Steuben and Madison.
The annual report by the Tax Foundation is based on the 2009 American Community Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau. And while the information is similar to previous years’ reports, it comes at a propitious moment.
New York is weeks away from historic state elections that could influence the way it conducts the public’s business. Voters are already angry, and this report will arm them with fresh statistics that explain and feed that anger. They’re not making it up. They’re not hallucinating. This state is not simply mismanaged, it is mismanaged worse than any other.
With this report, voters have something to ask the candidates about and something to inform the way they vote in November.”