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Citizens Protest Increase in County Sales Tax

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A group of about 30 citizens tried to send their "no more tax" messages to Erie County lawmakers Tuesday. But they left County Hall frustrated and defeated.

It was a small group of sign waving citizens. But they certainly managed to stir up a response from passing motorists along Franklin Street. They chanted "no more taxes -- we've had enough" as they waited for lawmakers to convene their session.

Casey Galeza of Grand Island said lawmakers had plenty of discretion in dealing with the budget mess.

"This is a backlash against all the stupid things that they have done," Galeza said. "They've shown us that they don't understand what government is about. They don't deserve to be in government. They need to drop out now, resign and bring a control board in, even if it takes insolvency."

Later, the protestors entered County Hall hoping that their "no tax" message would be heard in Legislative chambers. And when the meeting didn't start on time, citizens began to clap their hands in protest.

But once the special session started, citizens quickly learned their message of no more taxes was defeated. Ellie Corcoran of Amherst calls the sales tax increase "disgusting."

"It is against everything that we want. We don't want any more taxes. No one is listening to us," Corcoran said. "They made these deals before they even came in here."

Others who are against tax increases say lawmakers who voted in favor of the sales tax hike should be ashamed. The citizens are calling for full reforms in county government.