FRONT PAGE NEWS TODAY

By JIM MILLER
jmiller@fltimes.com

The state budget will include money to offset the property taxes the Cayuga Indian Nation refuses to pay Seneca and Cayuga counties. State Sen. Mike Nozzolio, R-54 of Fayette, announced the $2.5 million allocation Sunday, ahead of the final budget votes. “It is critically important to the future economic viability of our region that we take the steps necessary to protect our taxpayers from this unfair situation, and I was proud to lead the effort to include this funding in the final 2014-15 State Budget,” Nozzolio said in a press release.

Bob Hayssen, town of Varick supervisor and chairman of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors, welcomed the news. He said the allocation would offset the impact of several years of back taxes. Seneca County is expected to receive $1.8 million and Cayuga County $700,000. “It really doesn’t cover the taxes: Those taxes will still be owed to us,” Hayssen said. “Those taxes aren’t going away because Albany sent us some money. That’s what’s gotta be really stressed. This is basically money from Albany to make our bottom-line balance sheets balance out.”

Brad Jones, chairman of the Citizen Advisory Committee to the Indian Affairs Committee of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors, called the allocation good news. However,
he worries about its long- term implications. “This Band-Aid will help only for the short term,” he wrote in an email. “This relief is nothing more than double taxation for taxpayers such as us. Now, all the politicians (town, county, state, federal) will step back and watch more and more land be purchased by the Cayugas; and property taxes will never be paid by them."

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