“Campaign Gimmick”: GOP Legislature Hasn’t the “Slightest Appetite” for Home-Rule Message on LVT

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County legislator says GOP legislature hasn’t the “slightest appetite” for LVT. Will not support Seth’s home-rule message.


By: Tony Farina

Still hoping for a magic bullet to escape from Paul Dyster’s shadow, Seth Piccirillo is pushing for reform of the city tax structure in Niagara Falls that would require New York State to enact a pilot Land Value Tax program in downtown tourist areas as, according to him, a new solution to old problems.

As next week’s primary approaches, Piccirillo, a top aide in the faltering and nearly broke Dyster Administration, is hoping to defeat School Board President Robert Restaino in the Democratic primary for mayor and he is hoping his land value tax notion will help him cross the finish line first. 

As Frank Parlato reported last week, Piccirillo’s land value tax is hazy at best and residents would be hard-pressed to figure out what it would mean in terms of their property taxes in the future.

According to Piccirillo, the current two-tiered tax system punishes small businesses and allows land speculators to comfortably occupy acres of vacant land that could be used for development.  His solution: a Land Value Tax.

But he’s not likely to get any support from the Republican-controlled County Legislature (11 – 5) in seeking Albany’s help to reform the tax structure.

“It looks like an election campaign gimmick,” says North Tonawanda Republican Richard Andres, one of the members of that GOP majority.  “I haven’t heard anyone with even the slightest appetite for it, and given its complexity, it would take a great deal of study to determine if it would be helpful.”  

So if Piccirillo’s notion has no support in the county, the likelihood of a home-rule message to Albany asking for help is a long shot at best and tends to support Andres’ contention that it is nothing more than an election gimmick to help him carve out some political support in next week’s primary (Tuesday, June 25).  In the end, the voters will decide, as it should be.


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