June 3, 2009

Tax Stabilization Fund

There are certain things that need legislation, and there are certain things that are simply good government. Passing a law that caps future property tax increases at 2.5 percent per year shouldn't be required, it should simply be done to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, this is what the Niagara County Legislature is considering.

Legislator Danny Sklarski, sponsor of the measure that would create a tax stabilization fund "specifies that this money is to be used only to reduce property taxes". Do we really need a law to state that excess revenues should be dedicated to reducing taxes?

The county legislature has done a good job of keeping taxes in check, especially while many counties across the state grapple with the impact of the economic downturn, reducing the tax rate each of the past four years.

But this resolution does the same thing as the state's proposed four percent tax cap - it allows legislators to raise taxes 2.5% each year, and that's too much. Personal incomes are not rising at that rate, nor should our county taxes.

Sklarski's idea of keeping a lid on taxes is an admirable one, but it shouldn't require a law to do it.....just do it.


Barney said...

I'm not a fan of "rainy day funds" - these money in the county coffers accomplish nothing.

The surplus should be release to the public in the form of a tax rebate or decrease.

Give us our money back!

Paladin said...

Careful on that one, Barney. The county has carefully grown a fund reserve over the last four or five years that has been one of several reasons that their bond rating has gone up--which, as you know, saves taxpayers money in the form of lower interest rates. There's something to be said for keeping some excess funds on hand.

Sklarski's proposal may be overkill, but a surplus isn't, in and of itself, a bad thing.

Of course, say what you want about Dave Broderick and his actions as the administrator of estates, but he does get a lot of the credit on those lower rates. As does the Republican majority in the Legislature.