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More Links of the Day:

- Erie and Onondaga counties have been jumping for joy over sales tax receipts. They credit Canadians and higher gas prices, prompting me to ask if Monroe County is missing out. But year-end tax data shows Monroe County had a bigger bump in sales tax revenue from 2010 to 2011 than they did!

  • Monroe up 5.1%
  • Erie up 4.7%
  • Onondaga up 4.1%
  • Ontario up 3.4%

I’m not sure we can similarly credit Canadians for the increase in Monroe County,  given the geography and loss of the ferry. Do you see more Canadian shoppers and tourists around? Ontario County, home of Eastview Mall, didn’t enjoy a big increase. Higher prices, lower unemployment and a better economy probably have more to do with our revenue bump.

The statistics make wonder if Erie and Onondaga counties are giving Canadians too much credit.

Did you find yourself spending more money last year?

- Rabbit ears are making a comeback. People are rediscovering the antenna in the digital age, according to the Wall Street Journal. The picture comes in beautifully. Best of all, the broadcast stations are free. This is great for TV news. It could also further cord-cutting.

- We’ve discussed how Wegmans is looking into an urban prototype store. Many Rochesterians wonder what it will take for a grocery store to return downtown. Apparently, people in Buffalo wonder the same thing.

- Buffalo bars are giving away a boob job for Mardis Gras.

Links of the Day:

- Cleveland hopes to succeed where Rochester failed. A ferry service has been proposed from the Ohio city to Canada. A businessman would like to restart ferry service from Rochester to Toronto, but it won’t happen this year.

- Rochester was named one of the top 10 affordable housing markets in the U.S. in a recent survey. The study divided each region’s median housing price by median household income to come up with the list.

- The I-Square development appears stalled. The builder, Mike Nolan, referred me to his Facebook page. The posts are a bit a rant. Nolan is a rookie developer. This is a popular project, but did he think this would be rubber-stamped?

- The Buffalo News editorial board compares Kodak’s bankruptcy with the decline of Buffalo manufacturing:

As neighbors in this end of the state, Buffalo and Rochester have had much in common as manufacturing powerhouses that went into decline. The Buffalo Niagara region had 92,600 manufacturing jobs in 1990, compared with 49,200 in 2011, according to the state Department of Labor. The Rochester area had 124,100 manufacturing jobs in 1990, compared with 60,000 last year.

Remember during the fast ferry days when people said Canadians would never want to come to Rochester?

They’re flocking in droves to Buffalo and Syracuse – to spend money.

Sales tax receipts in Erie and Niagara counties are surging. Local officials credit Canadians. From the Buffalo News:

So what’s fueling the growth?

“There’s a one-word answer I can give you right now: Canadians,” said Gary D. Keith, an economist with M&T Bank. “They have been helping our retail sector significantly throughout 2011, and, in fact, the nice growth we’re seeing in Erie County has been topped by what’s happening in Niagara County.”

The Syracuse Post Standard reports Canadians are coming by the busload to Carousel Center, Wegmans and the Waterloo Premium Outlets:

The two currencies are about par right now. A big reason Canadian shoppers are coming to the U.S., and Syracuse in particular, is for the wide variety of stores and variety of goods they cannot purchase in Canada. And to escape goods and services taxes and other sales taxes, which are, they say, much higher in their homeland.

Rochester may not be as convenient as Syracuse and Buffalo, but I’d be willing to bet we’re getting at least some of that traffic. We have the unique attractions of The Strong and George Eastman House, but the shopping opportunities are no different. Maybe it’s time to figure out another kind of attraction to capture the Canadians!