Maria Whyte to Chris Collins: Come Out And Plaaaaaaay

13 Dec

Forgive the allusion to the epic film, “The Warriors“, but Erie County Legislator Maria Whyte (D, Buffalo) is essentially banging three beer bottles together and asking  Erie County Executive Chris Collins and his gang to come out of hiding and back up their assertion that the amended Erie County Budget raises taxes.

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“Chris Collins is a schoolyard bully and we’re here to say enough is enough”, says Legislator Whyte.  “Collins has repeatedly said in his radio commercials and in robo-calls to voters that the amended Erie County budget raises taxes, he hasn’t shown anyone how that is true”.

Legislator Lynn Marinelli (D, Kenmore) added, “We’re a ‘show me”, not a ‘tell me’ legislature.  We’ve shown line by line how our budget returns money to the taxpayers and fully funds all cultural organization, the Erie County library and the Erie County Comptroller’s office, Mr. Collins has not shown us anything to the contrary.”

Today, the Democrats provided a full line by line accounting of the adjustments made to the County Executive’s proposed 2011 budget and distributed it to the media.  Click here to see the numbers.

Within the Spreadsheet you will find various worksheets. The sheet titled “2011 Legislature Amendments” is a compilation of all of the cuts that were approved to the Budget along with an explanation for each line. The sheet titled “FB Analysis” shows current and historical analysis of the amounts the Legislature approved for several fringe benefits lines in County Departments. The remainder of the worksheets simply break out the information included in the “2011 Legislature Amendments” worksheet by category.

The Legislature made some significant cuts in order to fully fund libraries, culturals and the several other departments. Most notably, cuts to salary for the Deputy County Executive, County Attorney and a reduction in the county risk retention fund and workers compensation account.

The County Executive had set aside $3 Million in the risk retention fund (used for defending the county in lawsuits) whereas the Legislature funded that line item at $1 Million for 2011. The legislature committee defended the cut by producing evidence that the remainder of the 2010 risk retention fund would roll over to 2011. The fund currently has $5.5 Million in deposits and the actual amount spent per year over the last three years was $2.69 Million.

“The Democrat Majority did not raise taxes.  No one should raise taxes in these tough economic times,” said Legislator Christina Bove (D-West Seneca), “and our amendment package reflects that priority.”

The County Executive was not present during the hearing and has yet to provide any document which provides this level of clarity on individual budget lines.

Also, the County Executive did not send anyone to the hearing from his budget team, including his Director of Budget and Management, Greg Gach, who is on vacation…during the budget crisis. Mr. Collins did have his Chief of Staff send a text message to the Legislature’s Chief of Staff to inform them that he would not be attending the meeting due to his work on his upcoming State of The County Address.

Priorities.

After the Legislature met, Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz held an impromptu press conference

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Shortly thereafter, the Democrat majority held their own press conference.

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Essentially, Maria Whyte is calling the bluff of Legislator Kevin Hardwick (R, Tonawanda) who said he would support the amended budget if it could be proven that it did not raise taxes.  Hardwick would be the critical tenth vote to override any of the potential vetoes from the County Executive.  Whyte feels she has done the work to demonstrate that and it is now up to Collins to prove otherwise.

Now, we wait to see if Collins comes out to play…

3 Responses to “Maria Whyte to Chris Collins: Come Out And Plaaaaaaay”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. County Executive Issues Budget Veto Statement « WNYMedia.net - December 13, 2010

    […] County Executive Chris Collins has responded to the Erie County Legislature’s Amended 2011 Budget and press conference.  His response, in short; go get yer […]

  2. Le comté, c’est lui « WNYMedia.net - December 13, 2010

    […] The Six Sigma-dependent big spender has naturally relied upon dubiously correct hypertechnicalities to justify his lack of regard or respect for co-equal branches of government. […]

  3. The Politics of Cuts « WNYMedia.net - December 14, 2010

    […] is classic culture war stuff and the Democrats played into it, until yesterday.  They took the financial approach to demonstrate – in writing – that their budget amendme….  This put Collins on the defensive and forced him to up the ante by declaring the entire amended […]

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