New York state has approved a 2 percent property tax cap. All of our state representatives from the area - state Sen. Catharine Young and Assemblymen Andrew Goodell and Joe Giglio - have also backed the cap.
But some county leaders - in the legislature, right, and the executive - have called the cap "criminal" and "extortion."
So why is Chautauqua County already proposing an override for the cap legislation? For property taxes to increase more than 2 percent, 60 percent - or 15 legislators - must approve the plan.
With a possible $18 million budget gap looming, county leaders are already saying - echoing what we said back in the spring - that property taxes are going to have to go up, possibly by double digits in percentages.
Chautauqua County is already one of the heaviest burdened counties in America when it comes to property taxes, so why not raise them some more? This will prove to current residents and potential residents that we are serious about not controlling spending.
But taking a closer look at the numbers will show one other reason - other than Medicaid - why the county needs to raise property taxes higher than the cap. According to seethroughny.net, there were 1,470 employees on the county payroll in 2010. Those employees serve 134,000 residents.
Other state counties, however, seem to be more efficient when it comes to their work forces. In Niagara County, which has a population of more than 216,000 residents - 61 percent more than our county, it has a payroll of 1,656 employees - only 11.2 percent more than us.
Oswego County on Lake Ontario has a population of 122,000 - or 8.9 percent fewer residents than us. Its work force totals 1,004 - or 32 percent fewer workers than our county.
Does Albany force mandates on counties? Absolutely. But Albany forces mandates on other counties as well.
Employment numbers, however, are not mandated. If they were, Schenectady County, with a population of 150,000 residents, would have a larger work force than our county. It does not. It has 1,347 employees - or 8.3 percent county workers fewer than here.
Medicaid is an excuse. Too many employees is not.