As economic damage from COVID-19 piles up cities around New York state are looking for ways to get back on track. The Queen City is in a particularly vulnerable position.
"Buffalo is going to be challenged, here in WNY we are disproportionately reliant on sales tax and revenue and state aid," Dottie Gallagher said, the CEO and president of Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
As economic leaders try to figure out how to navigate this economic maze COVID created, cities like Buffalo that are highly dependent on tourism and state aid could have a tough time bouncing back. In fact, some of the economics we spoke to fear The Great Recession could make a comeback.
"We enjoyed 15 years of a wonderful renaissance and we have to hang onto that as much as we can," Gallagher said.
We're starting to see that grip loosen, as lost jobs and income, are leading to less spending and revenue for local municipalities. A New York Times article even says Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse could be the least likely to bounce back from the pandemic. Municipalities have tried to keep taxes low to encourage people to spend locally but finance experts from University at Buffalo say that tactic doesn't appear to be working.
"With the idea that keeping low property tax would attract a higher level of investments, I think that property tax has a very marginal effect I mean we need jobs, and that's what it comes down too," said Veljko Fotak, an Associate Professor of Finance for University at Buffalo School of Management.
One of the big factors in bringing the economy back to life is where we invest our money. Many shop online and the tax goes right to the state - not locally.
"We need to rethink how we allocate sales tax for online retail in a way that contributes more to the city," Fotak added.
And experts say you can do your part by shopping locally. Whether that will be enough is yet to be seen.