Erie County tax bills should list stadium fee

I would like to expand on a recent letter to Everybody’s Column regarding the Bills’ new stadium lease deal. On Jan. 1, sports columnist Bucky Gleason wrote: “State and local governments provided assistance to a team that needed little given its minimal, if any, debt load. The Bills turned annual profits that ranged from $30 million to $40 million while fans dipped into their Christmas money and retirement plans.”

This caused me to review our family’s 2012 county tax bill, where I found line items for several taxes, including a library tax and another for New York State mandated programs. Both line items were deliberately placed on the tax bills for political purposes. Beginning with the 2013 county tax bills, I propose that Erie County continues the practice of full disclosure by including a line item for each taxpayer’s portion of the county’s cost for the Buffalo Bills stadium lease. Label it the Bills tax. Since the new lease has been approved without public input or referendum, stating this item on our tax bills would be an ideal way for the county to be accountable to the taxpayers and keep the public fully informed.

My family paid $94 for the library tax, and $1,071 for mandated programs in 2012. I know I got well over $94 worth of service from the public library. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see where the Bills tax falls in comparison to each of these taxes? Isn’t it the taxpayers’ right to have this information made readily available to us? Do the politicians feel that what we don’t know won’t hurt us – or them?

Carolyn Gierke