Distribution of the Erie County Sales Tax
League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara
During the spring of 2004, the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara reached a consensus on the distribution of the Erie County Sales Tax. The position that League members arrived at is given below. A committee spent almost a year gathering the background information on which members based their consensus. The PowerPoint presention described below summarizes that background. It has been brought up to date in 2013 to reflect the changes in the Erie County Sales Tax (with an increase to 4.75% and with $12.5 million more distributed to local municipalities) since the time of the consensus.
The League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara supports a change in the way the Erie County sales tax is distributed. Specifically, the League supports a formula that includes consideration of a municipality's
- percentage of residents at or below the poverty level
- amount of tax-exempt property
- relative fiscal capacity
and recognizes the value of urban centers.
The League supports the application of these criteria to the 4th percent of the sales tax that presently goes to Erie County as well as to the 3 percent that is presently allocated to the county and its cities, towns, villages and school districts.
The League's original presentation giving the background for our position on the distribution of the Erie County Sales tax was prepared in 2004 using much data taken from a 2002 series of Buffalo News articles demonstrating how shifts in population and property values had reduced the share of the sales tax going to the City of Buffalo. The current presentation has been updated in 2013 to reflect the consequences to the sales tax distribution of using the 2010 census figures and of the more recent requirement by the state legislature that $12.5 million from the county's share be distributed to the cities, towns, and villages. Other charts have also been updated with the most recent data available. The new PowerPoint presentation is in PDF format. Scroll down through it or use your arrow keys to move from one slide to the next. To view it, click here.