Walter Asks Collins to Restore Library, Cultural Funding in 2012
by Geoff Kelly - posted 1:03 pm, November 19, 2010
Yesterday, Erie County Legislator Ray Walter proposed a plan to restore funding in 2012 for the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library and cultural institutions that Erie County Executive Chris Collins cut from his 2011 budget.
Walter proposes that the county hold on to two percent of the portion of the sales tax it shares with municipalities and school districts, or about $5.3 million. That would be enough to restore the $4 million that Collins wants to cut from the libraries this year and add $1.3 million for cultural institutions, which would go a long way toward making that budget whole again.
The restoration of funds could not take place until 2012, however, because the proposal would require terminating the current agreement, and that takes one year’s notice.
“This is a smart spending plan that doesn’t raise property taxes and fairly utilizes sales tax for programs that an overwhelming number of residents want funded. Libraries are a community asset and I believe all municipalities and school districts should join together to ensure proper funding is allocated,” Walter said in a press rlease. “I encourage the County Executive to consider this win-win solution.”
My guess is that Collins has already considered the measure, or Walter — a fellow Republican who represents the county executive’s hometown — would not have proposed it. Cracking open and changing the sale tax sharing agreement is no easy task, but it may well be that this is what Collins and his allies on the Legislature aim to do.