The 2013 Erie County Budget: It’s a Thing
by Alan Bedenko (@BuffaloPundit) - posted 7:23 am, December 4, 2012
It includes everything the voters said they wanted. It includes a minimal property tax increase – smaller than what Collins imposed when he came to office. It takes care of new, expensive mandates from the state. It is in balance, and the control board has signed off on it. “It” is County Executive Poloncarz’s proposed 2013 budget.
By contrast, the Republican minority, joined by Democrat Tom Loughran, are pushing an alternative budget with no tax increase, but one that the control board is unhappy with, and one which will be woefully out of balance.
James Sampson, chairman of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority, also told legislators that the control board has concerns over how the proposed cuts would impact the budget – including how jail overtime would be managed to stay within budget and how the county would meet additional projections for savings for vacant positions. The board last month found Poloncarz’s budget projections reasonable, but has identified potential “risk” factors in both Poloncarz’s proposed budget and the changes proposed by the legislators.
The stability authority operates currently in a “soft” advisory status, but its members could determine whether to remain advisory or increase its oversight to a “hard” control board if they find the budget is out of balance early next year.
“No one wants that latter option to happen,” Sampson said. “The county executive doesn’t. We don’t, and I’m sure the people and the Legislature don’t want to see the control board having to go hard again.”
Here, Poloncarz makes his final pitch for doing the fiscally right and responsible thing.
Republican Legislator Joseph Lorigo gets honorable mention for best demagoguery:
“Quite frankly, I’ve never seen people fight so hard to increase taxes.”