Buffalo hurting as Canucks stay away

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Canadian spending on the Buffalo side of the Niagara isn’t returning soon. That means that the budget planning of local governments—plans that include the effortless arrival of $30 million or so more in free dollars a year—will have to change. (Both the elected Erie County comptroller and the appointees of Erie County’s control board have gleefully gone on record that the Democratic county executive will be short $10 million in sales tax receipts this year.) We’re going to watch some ugly politics unfold in the next while as suburban officials go full Paladino in blaming civil servants, teachers, and uniforms for inevitable property tax increases.

We’ll get to that.

But first, here’s what’s happening next door.

There’s a cluster of lows—low oil prices, low commodity prices, a currency that’s slumping and that most expect will keep slumping, and low or negative economic growth going on in Canada.

And, confusingly, there are highs, too—high real estate values, high immigration, significant upticks in US tourists who love the cheap Loonie and the feel of going to Europe without the fret about random death cult violence.

Tricky stuff. Chinese money is pouring into Toronto and Vancouver real estate, hyper-stimulating the high end and making middle -class homeowners feel like tycoons if they’re in the close-in suburbs. Buffalo families with old, musty Muskoka cottages or Georgian Bay escapes are millionaires.

But the Canadian bankers are fretting. They know that it was unreconstructed Glass-Steagall regulation that spared Canada the real estate bubble that burst disastrously in the US in 2008. The Canadian bankers don’t want a bubble, because there’d be no Bush-Obama government bailout for them. The bankers want tighter mortgage rules, higher mortgage rates, and new taxes on some transactions.

That very rich, very sophisticated society is, however, very conflicted. And nowhere is the allure of real estate riches more evident and the politics of short-term gratification written more boldly into the landscape than in the part of Canada that used to shop at the Walden Galleria and the Niagara Falls outlets mall.

Here’s the problem with living next door to a country that’s going to need a turnaround: Their currency will stay cheap, their real estate bubble will soon enough pop (thus bringing commercial and industrial land prices low again), and the rational survival strategy for this happy corner of the Rust Belt is to sell them as many Solar City panels and Tesla batteries and Riverbend LED lights as we can possibly make. And to use our Canadian revenue crisis as the new rationale (as we always seem to need a new one) to regionalize, consolidate, and merge our way out of needing their money—because it isn’t coming back.


Canada's Economic Crunch and Western New York | The Public (external - login to view)
Not as harsh as shooting several million buffalo from a train

I have worked for .001 % yanks in my area
they have been here since the 1860s some of them

They sell the highs and buy the lows
they are spending now
cause its a dip
bill barilko
Curious Cdn
Re-arming the border and bringing back passport controls at the beginning of this century was a major hit to the bottom line of Buffalo, Rochester, Lewisport, Youngstown and others. There used to be, for example, a huge sailboat regatta in Youngstown every year that drew over four hundred keel boats full of thirsty, hungry people with pockets full of money to spend on cheap liquor and discounted sailing gear. It was worth many millions to that local economy but it became do onerous to cross the border that it eventually died a death. Something similar happened to Rochester, which is a real shame because after the demise of their two big home companies ...Kodak and Xerox, Rochester looks like a WWII bomb site. It is poor, crumbling and in steep decay.

In this corner of North America, the "big cities" are all on the Canadian side. This is where the people and money are and the Americsn towns znd cities are on the edge of their maps.

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