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Legislator Lorigo Invited to Washington to Talk Tax Reform


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Erie County Legislator and Majority Leader Joseph C. Lorigo has received and accepted a formal invitation from the President’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to discuss Tax Reform at The White House. Legislator Lorigo will meet directly with Cabinet Secretaries, members of the President’s senior staff, and other local elected officials.


“This came as a surprise to me, but it’s really a great honor and an excellent opportunity for the people I represent,” said Legislator Lorigo about the invitation. “Almost half of the constituents that I represent live in the Town of West Seneca and they are facing a 12 percent property tax increase next year. This is an opportunity to talk directly to leaders in the federal government about the importance of preserving the SALT deduction and alleviating unfunded mandates on local governments.”


Earlier this month, Legislator Lorigo sent a letter to the President (click here to read) regarding his opposition to removing the state and local tax (SALT) deduction from the President’s tax reform proposal. In his letter, he addressed the concern by stating, “This deduction not only encourages home ownership, but in Erie County goes one step further, becoming part of the calculus for potential buyers in determining what they can afford in setting a budget.”


Legislator Lorigo’s letter also addressed the proposed tax increase in the Town of West Seneca by warning that elimination of the SALT deduction could be a double hit for residents of his hometown. Earlier this month, the West Seneca Town Board proposed a 12 percent tax hike in its 2018 budget, adding further municipal tax burden to Lorigo’s constituents. That, along with the SALT deduction elimination, is what prompted Lorigo’s letter to the President.


“The 12 percent tax increase is absurd and should never have been proposed. If the SALT deduction is eliminated, West Seneca taxpayers may suffer twice by losing their ability to write off these high local taxes,” stated Lorigo.


“Since being elected to the Legislature, I have worked with members of four different parties to eliminate a tax increase, and provide three straight tax rate decreases. In 2018, I’ll help provide the fourth. I am doing what I was elected to do—fight for taxpayers. I don’t have a vote on the town budget, but I do have a voice, and I am using it to deliver tax relief,” continued Lorigo.


Legislator Lorigo has formally accepted the invitation to discuss tax reform at The White House, and will travel to Washington, D.C. on November 16th for the meeting. He intends to discuss not only the importance of preserving the SALT tax deduction, but how the federal government can work with county and state governments to lower out of control property taxes. That discussion will include alleviating local governments of federal and state mandates, advocating for caps on welfare spending, and increasing aid to towns for infrastructure expenses, which have become very costly and in some cases unaffordable for towns.


“What’s happening in West Seneca is unacceptable, but many of their costs stem from maintaining an aging and out of date infrastructure, and for that we need voices in Washington advocating a return on investment of our federal tax dollars. That is the message I plan on delivering while I am at The White House,” concluded Lorigo.