Executive Fiala Delivers Veto Message

(Binghamton, NY) Broome County lawmakers voted Monday night on a number of changes to Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala’s 2010 tentative budget. After reviewing the proposed changes, Executive Fiala has taken exception to, as well as vetoed, 5 of the modifications. (Click here for veto message)

“Unfortunately the Legislature has not followed its own advice to cut government services and it has exceeded its authority,” said Executive Fiala. 
During the budget proceedings, many critical comments were made that the administration must do more to cut government services.   Then the legislature, apparently forgetting its own advice, passed five amendments which increased county government services, including adding jobs back into the budget as well as increasing the amount of money given to contract agencies. Additionally, these amendments attempt to grab power from the executive.
While the Legislature does have the power to reduce items in the tentative budget, it does not have the power to increase revenues or appropriations. It has been the opinion of this administration and previous administrations, as well as county legal counsels’ position that the Legislature does not have some of the power they exercised Monday night.   
“I cannot compromise on those 5 amendments,” Fiala added.
There are other areas, however, where the Executive says she is willing to agree to disagree with lawmakers. The administration believes its tentative budget, with filed supplements, contains accurate revenue and appropriation estimates.   The administration also believes the figures are responsive to the residents of Broome County.   The Legislature, however, disagrees with the administration’s conclusions. Budget Amendment number 2 reduces the estimated sales tax revenues for 2010. The Broome County Charter Section C-607(A) gives the Legislature the power to reduce revenues or appropriations. The Executive therefore will not issue a veto on this amendment.
“With an overwhelming 16-1 vote, our legislators have sent a pretty strong message that they have consensus among both democrats and republicans on the issue of their sales tax projections,” stated Fiala. “I will not get bogged down in a fight with them at this crucial time when we need to work together on our fiscal challenges. We must restructure county government so that we do not face additional significant tax increases in the future.”
Fiala adds that next year is going to be the true test of the County’s ability to sustain current service levels. If our local and regional economy does not see significant progress, the administration stands ready to make the necessary cuts to protect our taxpayers. She encourages lawmakers to stand by those cuts when they occur. 
The Legislature must scheulde a meeting before November25th. To override the veto, twelve legislators must vote to do so by November 27th.


11/16/2009 - 1:11pm