By Bee Group Newspapers | on December 10, 2020 Frank J. Todaro
ERIE COUNTY LEGISLATOR
As we head into the end of the year, we recently finalized the 2021 budget in the Erie County Legislature. I am proud to share that tax relief and helping our small businesses continue to be top priorities of mine as your Erie County legislator.
The amendment package I proposed sought to eliminate a property tax increase for Erie County residents next year. The COVID-19 pandemic has left people struggling to make ends meet. Many individuals have lost their jobs and are left to support their families on a tight budget. For these reasons, a tax increase should be out of the question.
The second piece of the amendment package I proposed would have allocated $5 million in economic stimulus for struggling small businesses throughout Erie County: $3 million would go toward grants for businesses that faced another round of state-imposed closures, while $2 million would create a fund to help restaurants expand and enhance their outdoor seating space during cold weather months. Tons of businesses and restaurants are pleading for help due to forced closures and declining revenue. They are the most important piece of our local economy. We shouldn’t be wasting opportunities to provide meaningful assistance when we can.
Unfortunately, each member of the Democratic majority caucus voted against these proposals in order to pass a budget that dishes out pork funding to hand-picked organizations and pet projects in their legislative districts. This is shameful. As a legislative body, we are stronger when we work together for the benefit of all. I can promise you I will continue to fight for taxpayers, our community and the betterment of Erie County as a whole.
I also ask that you please consider doing your holiday shopping locally this season. There are so many incredible businesses to choose from in Erie County — including right here in the growing Village of Lancaster. Your decision to purchase a locally made gift for a loved one can go a long way in helping a small business owner keep their doors open. Our small business community has been fighting tooth and nail to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, operating with limited staff, resources and revenue. We must all do our part to support them and shop locally whenever possible.