Activists Say City is Closing  Buffalo’s Budget Gap on the Backs of  Black and Low Income Communities 

Buffalo City Hall /challenger news photo)

The African American Health Equity Task Force and the Fair Fines + Fees Coalition, in a letter to  Mayor Byron Brown and common council members, is calling for a  reassessment  of the Proposed 2020-21 Budget for the City of Buffalo. 

‘While we recognize the unprecedented budget challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has created for the City of Buffalo and other local governments across the country, we want to ensure that the adopted budget does not place the burden of closing the budget gap on the backs of Buffalo’s African American community and low-income communities,” the group stated.

 “As proposed, the City’s 2020-21 budget fails Buffalo’s most vulnerable Black residents and residents of low income. The Proposed Budget plans to bring in more than $3 million from traffic tickets.  While budgeting $3.1 million in net revenue from traffic tickets is, on its face, race-neutral, we encourage you to look closely at whether that budget number is discriminatory in application.  For example, if the Buffalo Police Department is focusing more patrols in poor Black neighborhoods, it follows that it would also be issuing more traffic tickets in those neighborhoods.” 

The  following groups represent the Fair Fines + Fees Coalition: Western New York Law Center, WNY Peace Center & Interfaith Peace Network, African American Health Equity Task Force, Partnership for the Public Good, Erie County Restorative Justice Coalition, Center for Constitutional Rights, Black Love Resists in the Rust, National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, National Center for Law and Economic Justice, VOICE-Buffalo, Citizens Action, Fines and Fees Justice Center, Prisoners Are People Too, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, and the Buffalo Information Sharing Collective.