Poloncarz’s Budget Review
by Geoff Kelly - posted 10:02 am, October 14, 2010
This week’s issue features an interview with Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz about the budget proposal forwarded by Erie County Executive Chris Collins.
Some of Poloncarz’s criticisms are discussed in the interview; there’s some more in today’s article by Matt Spina in the Buffalo News.
But there are some matters discussed in neither piece that I think are worth highlighting. First and foremost are the budget resolutions, which come at the end of the budget proposal. These are meant to cover contingencies that might arise as the financial years unfold. For example, there was a resolution last year that granted the director of budget and management the power to accept, award, and adjust grants subject to approval of the legislature.
In the analogous 2011 budget resolution, the reference to approval of the legislature is omitted.
Resolution after resolution, in fact, would empower the Collins administration to fiddle with appropriations and expenditures without approval of the county legislature.
I hate to adopt a pedantic tone, but perhaps the county executive has forgotten that American democracies rely upon checks and balances, and that the primary tool in legislative branch’s drawer is the power of the purse.