Niagara County Lawmaker Doesn’t Trust Census Data?

September 13, 2007

The tables of property taxes on owner-occupied housing released yesterday by the Tax Foundation (courtesy of Census Bureau data) have once again been dismissed by local lawmakers in Western New York. From the Niagara Gazette:

Legislature Chairman Clyde Burmaster, R-Ransomville, dismissed the report and said he believed the county’s Center for Economic Development is working hard to stimulate economic activity.

“I don’t hold much faith in them,” he said of private-sector reports.

Burmaster pointed to a conference now in progress that has attracted 30 people from around the world to Erie and Niagara counties to examine local development opportunities.

Explore Buffalo-Niagara will bring representatives from eight countries to Niagara County today.

It is true that the Tax Foundation is not a government entity, but the data comes directly from the Census Bureau. And speaking of economic development, here is some other Census data Mr. Burmaster and others may not want to see, unless they don’t trust the Census Bureau to count people.

U.S. Population in 2000: 281,421,906
U.S. Population Estimate in 2006: 299,398,484
Increase of 6.4 percent

NY State Population in 2000: 18,976,457
NY State Population Estimate in 2006: 19,306,183
Increase of 1.7 percent

Niagara County Population in 2000: 219,846
Niagara County Population Estimate in 2006: 216,130
Decline of 1.7 percent

Erie County Population in 2000: 950,265
Erie County Population Estimate in 2006: 921,390
Decline of 3.0 percent

High property taxes in your county aren’t necessarily bad if you are getting valuable government services from them or if the system of government is set up so that other taxes are low–in other words, if you are getting what you pay for from local government in total. And that’s not something we in Washington can determine nor can any entity determine — it’s each individual’s own valuation. But we can tell you what you are paying relative to the rest of the nation in property taxes, and in Niagara and Erie Counties, it’s high, and your sales and income taxes aren’t low either.

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