As most readers know, Albany granted the Seneca Nation legal superiority over Americans in Niagara Falls, including the right to open casinos and any kind of business tax-free. This created, of course, an unlevel playing field which,if not stopped, may result in Seneca capturing the town and Niagara Falls becoming literally Niagara Falls, Seneca.
Perhaps, however, Americans in Niagara Falls might wish to deploy a strategy to create “Equality with Seneca” and end the racist and unpatriotic law which makes Seneca legally superior to Americans here. That is the reason why I am calling a meeting of townsfolk — all are invited. The time: 7 p.m. Monday. The place: One Niagara, (the former Occidental Chemical Center) 360 Rainbow Blvd. Admittance is free.
Here are some points to ponder:
Is Seneca better thanAmericans?
Some people are blithely unaware that Seneca has superior legal rights. Based on ethnicity alone, a Seneca can open a casino; an American may not. They can open a business tax-free. We may not. They can build without complying with building codes; we may not. They can seize land and take it out of America and make it part of Seneca for more tax-free businesses. They can secede from the union — piecemeal. Obviously, we may not. These things give Seneca a pretty big advantage which they exercise, not on a reservation, but in downtown Niagara Falls, historically part of the U.S.
The harm Seneca has done
Those who wish to preserve foreigner superiority generally neglect to mention that land ceded to the Seneca nation is property tax-free. Items that used to generate sales tax are purchased sales tax-free in Seneca stores. Yet Americans pay for roads, sewers and water which lead to Seneca.
Nor do those who wish to keep Seneca above us like to mention that tax-free Seneca businesses compete against tax-paying American businesses in one of the highest-taxed places in the USA. While Seneca is gleaming, the area adjacent to Seneca is desolate. Lost in Seneca’s wake, besides the convention center, was the community ice skating rink. Closed to date: 11 restaurants, 26 taverns, 14 retail stores and four hotels.
Meanwhile Seneca has opened restaurants, taverns, retail stores and a giant hotel — all tax-free.
Even a dunce can understand: It’s the transfer of wealth caused by an incredibly unlevel playing field.
But — and this is the critical point — the Seneca/Albany compact provides for Seneca acquiring additional, adjacent land — to remove from the USA — for more tax-free businesses to compete against us.
More stores are coming, and the effects have not been seen: If people drive miles to rural reservations to save a few pennies on cigarettes and gasoline, imagine how far they’ll drive when Seneca has as many stores as the Galleria Mall.
And consider, also, the deterrent effect: what new business would, in a highly taxed, over-regulated and declining city, want to invest and compete against a tax-free nation next to it?
Consider the Seneca-Niagara Hotel, the largest in the area, has deluxe rooms and pillow-top beds. Local hotels would have pillow-top beds too, if they paid no property tax, sales tax, income or bed tax.
And Seneca plans two more hotels, with a combined 1250 rooms — all tax-free. It won’t be long before they capture all local hotel business becauseof their massive tax-freeadvantages.
Do we have a moral obligation to surrender to Seneca?
In light of this, I have publicly said, “I do not think we should allow foreigners to have more rights than our own children.”
“Foreigners?” my critics chastise. “They are more American than you!”
But Seneca, by self-acclamation, is a sovereign nation. You can’t have it both ways: American when it suits you; a foreign nation when it helps you.
For those strong enough to understand — it’s time to demand equality with Seneca now ...
And that’s what this meeting is about.
Frank Parlato Jr. is a Niagara Falls businessman.