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Gov. Hochul raised taxes many times while on Hamburg board

Gov. Hochul has promised not to raise taxes, but she voted to do just that — 11 times — as a member of the town board of Hamburg, in western New York.

In fact, the hamburglar raised property taxes more than 50% during her 13-year tenure upstate, a Post review of her voting record shows.

Hochul served on the Democratic-controlled board from 1994 until 2007, when she resigned to become clerk of Erie County. The almost regular yearly tax increases were usually passed unanimously in budgets by the five-member board.

When Hochul was first appointed to the board, it oversaw a $28.4 million budget. Town residents were expected to pay $6.25 per $1,000 of assessed value on their properties, while residents of the villages of Hamburg and Blasdell (which are independent entities incorporated in the town of Hamburg) paid $2.61 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Kathy Hochul swearing-in ceremony for Hamburg Town Board in 1996.
Kathy Hochul swearing-in ceremony for Hamburg Town Board in 1996.

By the time Hocul was done with Hamburg, its budget had climbed 51% to $43 million.

To pay for the increased spending, town residents were forced to pony up $9.07 per $1,000 of assessed value, while village residents were handing over $4.06 per $1,000 of assessed value —  increases of 45% and 56% respectively.

The rates didn’t match her rhetoric.

“This town board believes in fiscal restraint and setting an example,” Hochul said after a budget vote in 1998, according to the Buffalo News, which documented the tax and spend increases by the board.

Hamburg is about 14 miles south of Buffalo.

By the time Hocul was done with Hamburg, its budget had climbed 51% to $43 million.
Getty Images for Concordia Summi

The board did not raise taxes in their 2008 budget — the year after Hochul departed.

“She certainly voted for a lot of tax hikes,” recalled Steven J. Walters, who served as Hamburg town supervisor and a board member during Hochul’s last year on the board. Walters cast the lone no vote against the town’s bloated 2007 budget.

Hochul and Co. also squeezed cash from residents in other ways.

In 2006 the board hiked fees for carts and tee times at the local golf course, The Buffalo News reported.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks with reporters after delivering remarks at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Public Safety Symposium.
Hans Pennink

In 2004 the board hiked the fee for a dog license 150%, from $3 to $7.50. Membership at the local fitness center went up $10. Beach parking stickers spiked from $5 to $15 — a 200% increase.

“Everyday New Yorkers across the state are struggling to make ends meet, and instead of making life in New York more affordable, Kathy Hochul is turning the screws on hardworking families. In stark contrast to Hochul’s long record of raising taxes and the cost of living, I will fight to enact the largest tax cut in the history of our state,” Said Rep. Lee Zeldin, Hochul’s GOP opponent for governor.

After she became governor in 2021, Hochul vowed not to raise the state’s already sky-high taxes — a promise she has kept.

“I’m not raising taxes, not raising taxes because we have enough to work with to meet the needs,” she said in February of her upcoming budget. “And that’s what I’m going to do.”

Walters remains unconvinced.

“I suspect that taxes will increase [if she is elected],” he told The Post. “Kathy likes to run government projects and government projects need to be funded and those funding sources generally come from taxpayers.”