Before this year's elections, Buffalo and Erie County taxpayers finally got tired of all the wastefulness in government and organized the "Taxpayer Revolt." This resulted in Primary Challenge 2005, where two of seven candidates gained a spot on the ballot. Many people ran for office who were not lifetime politicians and who were interested in cutting spending and other fat in the county government.
After this year's elections, however, the results showed contrasting results. The Democrats not only gained seats in the county legislature, but they garnered enough seats to overturn any vetos made by the Republican county executive.
This basically results in what I consider an ideological "Taxpayer Retreat." No matter how upset taxpayers become over taxation in this area, the masses still remain mindless drones, voting for whatever their union or race dictates.
As things worsen, the people continue to flee the region. Here are some sunny statistics from a Buffalo Business First article:
The exodus from Buffalo is accelerating. The city's population declined by 2,600 between mid-2003 and mid-2004, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. That's its sharpest year-to-year drop since the beginning of the current decade. . . .
The new report pegs Buffalo's population at 282,864 as of July 1, 2004, its lowest level since the late 1800s. The city is now at less than half its peak of 580,132, set back in April 1950.
Buffalo, as a result, continues to sink in the nation's population standings. It now ranks as the 63rd-largest city in America, directly behind Aurora, Colo., and Riverside and Bakersfield, Calif.
That contrasts sharply with its position a century ago. Buffalo had 352,387 residents when the 1900 census was conducted — nearly 70,000 more than it does now — making it the nation's eighth most-populous city.
Is it any wonder that the masses are fleeing the region? Businesses and jobs languish as a result of the government continues to tax businesses and individuals more and more each year. Just when it seems as though the region cannot become any less business-friendly, the city and county governments pull through . . . and the voters continue to reward them with their votes.
I suggest that the Taxpayer Retreat continue on as a physical manifestation as well. Expect no changes in the population trends for Buffalo in the next few years. The situation will only worsen as fiscally mindful people leave the area for greener pastures, resulting in an even higher percentage of people who enjoy high taxation and bloated budgets. Perhaps the slogan should be changed to "Buffalo: A great place for your great-great-grandparents."