Buffalo Commons



Reforming Buffalo's Tax Foreclosure Process

Jonathan Baird — Sep 30, 2011

The City of Buffalo holds an annual foreclosure auction to collect on delinquent taxes and fees owed by its residents.  This is a way for the City to raise revenue that would otherwise go unpaid and for Buffalo citizens to buy buildings and lots at bargain prices.  But the foreclosure process is imposing a high cost upon some of Buffalo’s most vulnerable citizens, creating an unnecessary burden on people trying to stay in their homes, and adding to the already existing epidemic …

View .PDF

Responding to New York's Budget Crisis

Sam Magavern — Feb 10, 2011

Wealthy individuals and big businesses have benefited dramatically from reduced taxes and increased subsidies, and they should make a fair contribution to resolving New York’s budget crisis.  Taxes on the very wealthy and reduction of corporate welfare will do much more to reinvigorate the economy and restore fiscal health than drastic cuts in health and education spending.

View .PDF

Erie County Sales Tax

Victoria Volk — May 4, 2009

The Erie County sales tax rate is 8.75%.  It is a general sales and compensating use tax which is levied on all taxable retail sales in Erie County.  Of the total 8.75% tax collected by the State of New York, 4% is retained as State revenue and 4.75% is returned to the County.  The county tax base rate is 3%.  However, Erie County has received authorization to add an additional 1% in 1985, and then an additional 0.75% in 2005-2006.

View .PDF

Erie County Property Taxes

Greg Michalek — May 2, 2009

It is a tax on the assessed value of real property.  Typically set by school boards, town boards, village boards, and city and county governments.  Applies to both homeowners and businesses, although rates and exemptions may differ.  Each board determines the total amount of taxes it needs to raise, and then divides that number by the total taxable assessed value of the jurisdiction to determine the tax rate.  Your share of the tax is calculated by multiplying the tax rate …

View .PDF

City of Buffalo Property Tax

Victoria Schmidt — Apr 26, 2009

The property tax is essentially a tax placed on property owners by the municipality.  Cities outside of New York City may use only revenue sources authorized by New York State, and the property tax is one of those few sources.  The property tax is based on the value of the property.  The tax is calculated by multiplying a property’s taxable assessment by the tax rate that applies to the tax jurisdiction where the property is located.

View .PDF

Alternative Tax Strategies for Local Governments

Robert Coly — Nov 18, 2008

During the fiscal year 2004-05, New Yorker’s paid approximately $111 billion in state and local taxes.  Of this total, local taxes accounted for 55% or $61 billion.  Local tax revenues come mainly from the property tax and sales tax, which account for $34 billion and $10 billion, respectively.  Taxes are important to development for two reasons.  First, the tax burden on low and middle class families affects local citizen’s standard of life, access to affordable …

View .PDF

Comptroller's Review of the Costs of Real Property Tax Assessment in Erie County

Mark Poloncarz — Mar 25, 2008

The New York State Office of Real Property Services (“NYSORPS”) has stated that “New York's property tax system is, arguably, the most complex and confusing in the country.”  NYSORPS data show that there are 1,133 distinct assessing units in New York State, as contrasted with 59 in California.  Only the State of Michigan has more assessing units than New York State.  In Erie County, thirty (30) municipal governments consisting of cities, towns and villages …

View .PDF

The Control Boards: Time for an Objective Review and Real Reforms

Mark Poloncarz Mar 18, 2008

Justifications for the Buffalo and Erie County control boards usually depend on two false premises: (i) the problem is “bloated” and “inefficient” city and county government; and (ii) the solution is to add another layer of government composed of non-elected, state-appointed officials.  The typical commentary lumps all local elected officials together, ignoring large differences between different politicians and between the city and county.  It ignores the big …

View .PDF

Local Taxes in New York State: Easing the Burden

Wende A. Mix Dec 6, 2007

The months between the fall of 2007 and the adoption of New York State’s next annual budget in March 2008 are a critical juncture in the efforts to “fix Albany.”  The process by which the next budget is prepared and debated, as well as the substantive decisions it embodies, are critical to the movement for political and fiscal reform in New York State.  In order to promote fiscal reform, the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) is convening three separate agenda-setting …

View .PDF

Taxes in New York State: Restoring Fairness and Equity to the Personal Income Tax to Reverse Decades of Reliance on the Property Tax- Short and Long Term Solutions

Ron Deutsch — Dec 31, 2006

Governor Spitzer  created a Property Tax Commission to examine the root causes of high property taxes in NYS.

View .PDF

The Path Not Taken: How New York State has Increased the Tax Burden on the Middle Class and Cut Taxes for its Highest Income Taxpayers by over $8 Billion a Year

Frank Mauro — Jun 4, 2005

In 1972, New York State had a personal income tax with 14 brackets, ranging from a low of 2% to a high of 15%.  Since that time the state government has significantly restructured the state personal income tax in a variety of ways.  Among the changes that have been made since 1972 has been a move to something that is much closer to a flat tax.  This has been done by eliminating brackets from both the bottom and the top of the old structure.  For example, the lowest rate in …

View Website