Niagara Falls Project a Poke in the Eye to Local Gasoline Retailers

ALBANY, NY (02/17/2016)(readMedia)-- Statement by Jim Calvin, President, New York Association of Convenience Stores

The supposedly tax-free gas station/convenience store palace planned for Seneca Indian land in downtown Niagara Falls would be a poke in the eye to struggling non-Indian retailers who collect state and local taxes, comply with state and local regulations, and provide jobs.

It's not enough that the Senecas have been granted an exclusive, no-bid franchise to mint money at the Niagara Falls casino. Now they have to siphon all the gasoline business away from law-abiding businesses as well?

Touted as "economic development," this project is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The Senecas seek to monopolize the retail gasoline market in Niagara Falls with pump prices that are dramatically but artificially lower because they exclude applicable state and county taxes that currently average 40 cents a gallon.

That would mean forfeiting motor fuel tax revenue earmarked for maintenance and repair of roads and bridges across Western New York, as well as the loss of sales and jobs at surrounding non-Indian gas stations and convenience stores that would find it impossible to compete. Some gas stations would be forced out of business.

Cannibalizing an existing industry by thumbing one's nose at state and local taxes and regulations should not be allowed to pass as positive economic growth for Niagara Falls or any other New York State community.