Numbers Don’t Lie. School Revotes Today

People simply love the new series “Donn Esmonde is an Ass”. And I love writing it – every Friday and Sunday are like little packages of prejudicial, simplistic dogshit. Gift-wrapped nicely in a bow of boomer “me generation” excrement and paper made from pure irony, I get to unwrap the reality for you twice a week until the News relents and sends him into proper retirement.

Forgive me as I pivot back a few weeks, because this is important to address. On May 24th, while the shock and pain of the defeat of the Clarence school budget was still raw, Donn Esmonde argued that Clarence was just “overstuffed with school tax excess” and that it was a good thing that the 9.8% crisis budget was defeated.

While entitled to his overly simplistic right-wing opinion, Donn Esmonde was – as usual – wrong. Here are the facts.

If you navigate your trusty browser to this link right here, you can look up the taxes paid on any Clarence property going back several years. If I take a look at my own home, I learn the following about my school taxes:

In 2006, I paid $4,345.00 in school taxes.

In 2007, I paid $4,347.00 in school taxes.

In 2012, however, I paid $4,205.00 in school taxes.

How about that? I was paying less – in actual dollars – in school taxes in 2012 than I had 5 or 6 years earlier. My property value assessment, by the way, has never gone down in any year since moving into my home in 2002.

Had the 9.8% budget passed, my school taxes were estimated to rise to about $4,600. By the same token, had the tax increases year after year increased by – let’s say 2% (well within the cap and about even with the average rate of inflation over the last 20 years), what I would have been paying in 2012? About $4,800.

(Assuming 4,347 in 2008, 2% increase to 4,433 in 2009; 2% increase to 4,521 in 2010, increase to 4,611 in 2011, 4,703 in 2012, and about $4,797 in 2013).

Overstuffed with school taxes? Lies.

Incidentally, if you live in Alden, Clarence, Lewiston-Porter, Niagara Wheatfield, Wilson, or Bemus Point, today is school revote day. Please go vote.


  • When I lived in Virginia my school taxes were half that.

    Yep, the numbers don’t lie. There’s nothing magical about $4500, except that it’s too much.

    • $4,500/year for my house isn’t too much. By the way, it all depends where in Virginia you live, and how the funding breaks down. And how much your house is worth. Also, your orange tastes and looks different from my apple.

    • and when I lived in Texas, my taxes were triple what I’m paying here. What in the hell does that have to do with anything?

      • In Texas your taxes were higher than NY??? Where did you live in the Woodlands?

        • Believe it or not, NY is not the end all/be all of taxes. I grew up here and left right after high school and lived in multiple states before moving to Clarence.

          Here are the school tax rates of places I’ve lived…some are higher, some are lower.

          Tarrant Count, Texas– Keller ISD – $200k property – school rate is 1.54/$100 = $3080 – Total tax rate is 4.65/100 = $9,300

          Orange County, Florida – $200k property – school rate is 8.478/1000 = $1695.6

          Gaithersburg, MD – $200k property – total tax rate is 5.666/100 = $11,332 – they don’t break out schools.

          Suffolk County, Virginia $200k property – school rate is 1.22/100 = $2,440

          Clarence, NY $200k property – 14.257/1000 = $2851.43 – Total tax rate is 22.7/1000 – $4,540

          I apologize for misspeaking above. Our tax rate was only DOUBLE in Texas. Still cheaper here and the schools in Texas, while beautiful, sucked!

  • All your numbers show is that your taxes went down over time, and that they could have been higher if the School Board had escalated them gradually. Since there’s no empirical metric for “overstuffed” it’s impossible to say whether they are or not. If there were then this whole argument would be moot.

    That said, there’s just a little justification for DE to call them “overstuffed” in the first place.

  • Apparently all you need do in order to get on BuffaloPundit’s permanent Excrement List is listen to, and report on, the views of the 58% of Clarence taxpayers who choked on a ten percent hike in school taxes.
    Now you’ve gone and done it, Donn.

  • Dear Buffalo Pundit,
    Why are you so obsessed with this guy Donn Esmonde. Don’t you love us anymore?
    Terry Valenti and Lori Brocuglio
    (writing to you while on the lam from an undisclosed location)

  • Yep Alan, from the comments here I can see “People simply love the new series…”
    You figured we all loved it so much, your little childish creation of hate, that today you even treated us to a brand new and most excellent rehash of the garbabe platter special served up previously.
    I will try and just skip your little series from here on out. Grow up.

    • I work hard, and I won’t have my community destroyed by cretins like Donn Esmonde. If fighting back for the future of my town and my kids’ schools offends you so, then I wonder what you think I’m doing here. The volume of supportive emails, texts, and FB messages far outweighs your whinging about my completely reasonable, carefully measured hatred.

      • Lake Effect Rain

        Alan, Donn does come across as an ass sometimes, and I know you’re on a roll, and you have given me a few laughs with this but come on….

        Donn’s a newspaper columnist – who cares what he writes? Does anyone in WNY take his word as gospel, or look to him as a font of wisdom? I doubt it! Sometimes he comes out with a gem (not too often), and sometimes he talks nonsense.

        But – he’s not the real enemy here. Why don’t you save your righteous anger for people who deserve it – like the Tea Party or the Paladinos of this world? Now, he truly IS an ass. Go after those guys!

    • (tl;dr = I don’t care if you read, comment, or either).

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