Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro is calling on the Erie County Comptroller and the Director of Real Property Tax Services to examine whether hotels that receive public tax dollars are current on their property taxes, and if not, to take corrective actions. Hotels pay bed taxes to Erie County, a portion of which goes to fund travel and tourism efforts in Erie County.
“It’s simple. If a hotel is receiving public money, then there is no reason they should not be up to date on their taxes. Whether those local hotels are housing asylum seekers or providing housing to individuals or families on an emergency basis, if they receive your tax dollars to provide this service, then they should be up to date on bed tax remittances,” said Legislator Todaro.
New York City has relocated asylum seekers to other parts of the state with the promise of paying for the housing of these individuals for one-year. The funding to provide that housing comes from state, federal, and New York city taxpayers. Three area hotels are currently being used to house these individuals, which now number more than 400. Records show two of those hotels are behind on their property taxes.
“It’s not just for this issue that we are currently dealing with. Again, for years Erie County has used local hotels for emergency situations. Records indicate at least one of those hotels is also behind on taxes,” said Legislator Todaro.
In fact, in 2019 the Erie County Comptroller issued a report that sex offenders were living in some of those hotels designated for emergency housing, and it was discovered one of those hotels is also behind on their property taxes. The public record also shows two of three hotels where self-purported asylum seekers are being housed are behind on their property taxes.
Legislator Todaro says all legally available steps should be taken to collect on taxes.
“This is an issue of fairness. As Erie County taxpayers you are helping to foot the bill to house folks in area hotels. If those hotels are receiving your money to provide this service, then they should not be in arrears in taxes,” concluded Legislator Todaro.