Governor Vetoes Items In State Budget, Erie County Comptroller Reacts

September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 29, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

ALBANY, NY ( WKBW ) Monday night, Governor David Paterson came to the table and vetoed the items included in a budget passed by the Assembly and the Senate.

At odds were Paterson's call to reform tuition for SUNY and how to handle Medicaid funding.

In a news conference Monday night available on the State website, Paterson told reporters, “Rather than act in the interests of the people of New York state, they have engaged in legislation that is in self-interest and presented us with a series of bills that have the same gimmicks, chicanery and avoidant conduct that has characterized fiscal management in this state for far too long,”

The Albany Times Union at timesunion.com reporting that using a stamp and black ink, he (Paterson) vetoed a line in the budget that added $419 million in school aid this fiscal year (or some $600 million continued over the next school year.) Paterson said he will repeat the process 6,900 times — and his aides say he must personally initial each veto, so there could be some logistical headaches — to nix $80-100 million in restoration to the Tuition Assistance Program and other educational subsidies as well as $185-190 million in re-appropriated pork.

Paterson said he was “disappointed, stunned, and frankly chagrined” that legislators did not create a contingency fund, in case some promised Medicaid assistance from the federal government fails to materialize. He said legislators are “fantasizing” that the monies will come through, and are engaging in “distraction and rumor-mongering” when they claim action in New York might push federal senators not act.

Reaction from the Western New York delegation was mixed. Eyewitness News spoke with NYS Senator Antoine Thompson (D) Monday night who said, "...He has a right to raise concerns, but initially he was supportive of what we were trying to do."

Republican Mike Ranzenhoffer of Williamsville told Eyewitness News he voted against the bills, but agreed with the Governor that certain provisions would force an increase in taxes."

Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz also reacted to the budget battle in Albany. In a letter released to Eyewitness News, Poloncarz lists the effects of the budget impasse in WNY.

Re: Effects of New York State Budget Impasse on Erie County

Dear Governor Paterson, Speaker Silver, President Smith and Conference Leader Sampson:

As Erie County’s chief financial officer I am writing to express my grave concerns regarding the emerging negative effects on Erie County (“County”) resulting from the ongoing impasse in finalizing a State budget for your 2010-2011 fiscal year.

As the enclosed document illustrates, as of June 25, 2010, New York State owes the County $131.48 million, most of which consists of State reimbursements to the County for State-mandated services and programs previously administered by the County, and almost $73 million of which has been due and owing for over ninety (90) days.

For the past year, the County was able to successfully manage its cash flow to address the effects of the State’s 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 budget deficits and delayed State budget. In this respect, Erie County was unlike many other county and local governments and school districts across New York, all of which experienced significant negative effects and publicly lamented this issue.

However, due to the various issues associated with the late State budget and the County’s inability to receive timely reimbursements and payments from the State, now Erie County faces a potential serious cash flow situation by mid-July 2010. If the State had reimbursed the County as expected, the County’s cash flow position would be strong. Instead, the County faces a potential cash flow shortage solely because the State is holding back payments to the County that should have been made months ago.

I respectfully urge you, as the leaders of the executive and legislative branches of New York State government, to expeditiously resolve and enact the 2010-2011 State budget. Furthermore, I implore Governor Paterson to authorize the State Division of Budget to allow the Office of the State Comptroller to immediately release payments to Erie County.

In the event that State action is not forthcoming, the County will likely need to undertake certain actions to address this cash flow situation to maintain our normal County operations. These actions may include delaying payments to County vendors and hastening the issuance of the County’s annual cash flow borrowing and increasing the total amount to be borrowed. I aim to avoid either of these potential outcomes, but currently such an outcome is a very real scenario unless the County receives payment from the State of the amounts due and owing.

On behalf of Erie County, thank you in advance for your consideration and assistance.

Sincerely yours,
Mark C. Poloncarz
Erie County Comptroller

MCP/nr
Encl.
cc: Hon. Thomas DiNapoli, Comptroller
Senator Dale Volker
Senator Michael Ranzenhofer
Senator William Stachowski
Senator Antoine Thompson
Erie County Executive Christopher Collins
Erie County Legislature
Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority
Assemblyman Robin Schimminger
Assemblyman Mark J. F. Schroeder
Assemblyman Sam Hoyt
Assemblyman James Hayes
Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples
Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak
Assemblyman Jack Quinn
Assemblywoman Jane Corwin

Eyewitness News will have more on the ongoing budget battle. Fora link to the Times Union story, and other budget sites from New York State, go to "News Links" at wkbw.com