Erie County Legislature Democrats are advocating eliminating chargebacks to Erie County and other county taxpayers for students enrolled at community colleges who attend a community college within the same economic development region as their home county.
The Democratic Majority Caucus noted the issue was strongly illustrated by a Buffalo News article published Thursday, August 23, 2012, highlighting the state policy requiring taxpayers to pay a fee when residents of the county where they reside attend two-year schools elsewhere in the state if a two-year community college is available in their own county.
The Democratic-sponsored resolution calls for the New York State Legislature to develop new legislation allowing residents within an economic development region so designated by the Empire State Development Corporation to attend the community college of their choice within the same region without having a punitive fee imposed on them.
“Requiring property taxpayers to pay this fee is an outdated and unfair practice. It is financially punitive to property owners in Erie County and similar counties and is counterproductive to working together and finding more efficient ways to operate,” Legislator Lynn M. Marinelli (D-Tonawanda), a resolution sponsor and chair of the Community Enrichment Committee, of which conducts oversight of Erie Community College, said. “Charging a fee or `taxing’ Erie County property owners is a practice we should eliminate.”
According to the Regional Council Guidebook, Erie County lies within the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, together with Niagara, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Chautauqua counties.