Chris Collins only wants a very select list of 10 cultural organizations to receive county funding, and slashed money for the libraries. Over the past couple of weeks, the county legislature worked through a process whereby it restored funding to the culturals and the libraries one by one, oftentimes by veto-proof majorities. The library re-funding was unanimous.
In the process the Collins-friendly “reform coalition”, (three Democrats who for various reasons aligned themselves with Collins and the Republican minority on the legislature, thus forming a de facto Republican majority), seemingly broke down. Tim Kennedy has no use for the coalition anymore, since it’s outlived its get-me-t0-the-Senate usefulness. Next, West Seneca’s Christina Bove dissented leaving Chairwoman Barbara Miller-Williams alone, warning lawmakers to beware Collins’ veto pen and/or wrath.
Last week’s shenanigans lead to this week’s bickerfest, with Collins firing the opening salvo. Although the Democrats were careful to balance the budget through its re-funding of culturals and libraries, Collins claims that all of this will lead to a tax hike. He pledges to veto $400,000 for youth programs and $1.2 million for culturals – money that goes to help fund our very way of life.
But when you reduce “life” to numbers on a balance sheet, as Collins does, those arguments will fail.
And while Collins can’t veto legislative reductions to his budget, made to help pay for the cultural re-funding, he’ll try to declare them “null and void”. The Buffalo News reports:
When pressed by reporters Tuesday, Collins refused to specify the percentage of increase he saw as necessary. In total, the Legislature moved around $8 million of a more than $1 billion budget that relies on about $235 million in property tax income. Even if all $8 million was in dispute, which it’s not, that would require a property tax hike of around 3 percent, or $15 a year on a $100,000 home.
After Collins issues his “veto message,” the Legislature will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday for its “veto override” session, which gives the Legislature a crack at mustering the two-thirds majority needed to override a county executive’s vetoes. The key will be the six-member Republican conference, which has been all over the board.
Democratic Majority Leader Maria Whyte points out, however, that the budget as-amended by the Democratic caucus spends $100,000 less than Collins’ proposed budget.
The “fun” continues Thursday.
- County Executive vows to veto amendments (buffalo.ynn.com)
- Supporters rally to protest library cuts (buffalo.ynn.com)
- Collins’ Choices, Deals, and Priorities (wnymedia.net)
- Collins: A Government of One (wnymedia.net)