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We Just Spent $50,000 On What For The Coming April Eclipse?

How is spending $50,000 on branded solar eclipse glasses being fiscally conservative?

It’s funny that Republicans or the suddenly fiscally conscious Democrats on the Chautauqua County Legislature waited until their November meeting to approve the purchase from the county’s 3% occupancy tax reserves. County economic development officials justified the spending by saying more than 100,000 visitors are expected in the county for the April 8 solar eclipse, and the glasses are an opportunity to market the county and make sure people can watch the eclipse safely.

If that many people do come into the county, then the county should see additional sales and occupancy taxes. Niagara and Erie counties have made similar purchases, according to county development officials.

If Niagara and Erie counties jumped off a bridge, should we? Of course not. In our view, the people coming for the eclipse would come to Chautauqua County regardless, so the eclipse glasses aren’t likely to have much payoff.

We’d rather have seen the county spend the $50,000 on something that attracts people who wouldn’t have found their way here otherwise by helping a new event get off the ground or creating a true destination event centered around the eclipse so that visitors who come have such a good time they want to come back again.

We have a hard time believing some plastic glasses will have much benefit. It’s hard to believe a tourist is going to see the glasses sitting in their car and decide to come back to Chautauqua County.

In our opinion, the county thought too small – and probably wasted your money in doing so.

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