By Carl Paladino
Last week, Fitch Ratings reduced the City of Niagara Falls Credit Rating to a level just above junk bond status which in turn will increase the city’s cost of borrowing.
Niagara Falls’ real estate taxes are absurd. Its payroll far exceeds that of comparatively sized cities. It doesn’t have a public safety problem that couldn’t be solved with some discipline and supervision. Friends and family members get jobs. Many high-paid employees don’t even live in the city. The city is sick, and no one complains.
The city suffers from a bloated budget due to its historically reckless, wasteful and irresponsible tax-and-spend governments including its pathetic patronage. The city also suffers from the failure of Andrew Cuomo to properly extend the New York State Gaming Compact and its revenue-sharing agreement with the Senecas so as to pay for city services burdened by the presence of the bloodsucking casinos. So why hasn’t the city shut down those services?
Cuomo’s cronies actually forgot to renew the Seneca’s fees. Has the responsible attorney been fired? Sued? Who made that costly mistake? Why is Cuomo hiding this from the public? Why isn’t Cuomo paying the city for his mistake?
Now, again those same weak elected officials afraid of offending Cuomo and the Senecas, have allowed the Senecas, without substantive complaint or opposition, to build a super gas station on tribal lands that will ultimately destroy 11 or so small gas station operators who cannot compete with the tax-free gas sold at Seneca One Stop. How is it that a gas station qualifies as “casino related?”
What’s next for this dying city? Will the Senecas build a tax-free retail mall? The incestuous, incompetent and dirty politics of Niagara Falls has for decades crippled its development.
How bad is the development atmosphere in Niagara Falls? The new 128-room, $35 million Hyatt Place hotel (incredibly $273,000/room) was built with a $3.85 million special grant from the state. The developer argued that “but for” the special subsidy, the hotel could not be built. In other words, free market forces were so bad that a private developer would not take the risk without state money. With reckless disregard for the struggling taxpaying hotels in Niagara Falls, which had no access to special subsidies from the state, Andrew Cuomo subsidized a new competitor to enter a difficult and highly competitive market to unfairly compete. Why? It’s election time.
The city’s gutless elected officials are eating at the public trough as though it is an entitlement while Cuomo and the Senecas pillage the taxpayers.
You can’t make this stuff up. Wake up, Niagara Falls.
Developer Carl Paladino owns the Giacomo hotel amongst other properties in Niagara Falls.