Erie County Has Millions of Dollars in Surplus, But Only Wants to Give Us Crumbs

by Duncan Kirkwood

The Erie County Legislature is currently debating what to do with a surplus of nearly 9 million dollars of tax payer money.

The County Executive Marc Poloncarz wants to give 5 Million to Albright Knox, 2.5 Million to the Botanical Gardens, $500,000 to help demolish a school in Lackawanna, $350,000 to the High Fidelity WRAP program to reduce foster care placements and $335,000 to the PIVOT program which helps companies train and employ welfare recipients.

This money is SURPLUS tax payer money, and the county should put this money where the greatest needs are in Erie County. There is no one who could argue that while we are in the middle of a gun violence epidemic and an opioid crisis that it is more important to be giving surplus tax payer money to the Botanical Gardens to build a new butterfly wing.

A majority of these surplus funds should be going towards anti-poverty initiatives and anti-violence initiatives and organizations. We have groups like MVP, Stop The Violence, SNUG and so many others that are working every day stop the killings in our community.

These resources should be going to funding initiatives that keep us safe, and healthy and that give people opportunities to succeed. From my sources inside the legislature, I have been told that they are going to wait until after the primary to make the official decision on what to do with these millions of dollars of extra tax payer money.

It would be a bad look for them to give the Albright Knox 5 million dollars instead of putting that money into communities that need support, need growth, need jobs and need opportunities.

They are going to give $350,000 to try to reduce foster care placements, well we are gonna need a lot more than that. In Erie County Black people make up 15% of the population, but nearly 40% of children removed from the home are Black children. We need to get our priorities straight.

In any case, they are going to wait until after the election when the backlash won’t really matter. This is why local elections are so important, this is why I am running for Erie County Legislature. There are so many people in Erie County, especially on the East and West side that need help that these millions of dollars in extra tax payer money could have helped.