Response to Stephen Hawley

I’d like to take a few moments to respond to Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s reply to the Orleans Hub editorial “GOP State Senate blueprint for NY should include equitable AIM funding for villages”.

Currently, village residents are terribly overtaxed compared to our non-village neighbors. This is directly a result of how localities can tax, how services are provided, and how the state distributes aid to correct for any inequities.

The county taxes all county residents. The towns for the most part tax all town residents (except for paving town roads). The villages can only tax village residents. When villages provide services themselves that means that the county and towns need to provide fewer services. Comparable services of the county and towns get redirected outside of the villages.

The unfairly high village taxes are a prime reason why the tax base has continued every year to gradually shift away from the villages. Every time a person decides to buy a home or property the market corrects for this unfairness by depressing sale prices in the villages.

Mr. Hawley’s response mentioned Medicaid, but the local share is a county expense and hits all county residents equally in the county tax rate. It doesn’t adversely impact village residents.

Mr. Hawley mentions a few bills that he has sponsored. I read each bill and it looks like the first 2 address any future state programs and doesn’t help correct the existing overtaxing of village residents. His response claimed that the 3rd bill would redirect extra AIM funding to villages, but when I read the text it seems to redirect extra AIM funding to towns as well – so, again, no correction to help overtaxed villages.

I expect that if we fail to address the existing unfairness of our local government structure then you will see further decline in the villages going forward. Our state representatives need to start work cooperatively with the state to fix this situation – and lay off unproductive insults of the governor and “downstate politicians”. Our local leaders need to be willing to go outside their comfort zone and consider reorganizing how local governments provides services. A county where all localities thrive is going to be more attractive to outside investment that one with struggling villages.

Jason Dragon
Village of Albion