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The Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, Ken Jenkins today released a statement blasting County Executive Rob Astorino for what he called his "useless" veto of the County's tax levy.
The Board of Legislators on Monday approved a 2.25% cut in the tax levy. Astorino then vetoed the move saying it was based on "financial gimmicks" and "shoddy accounting practices" and that his initial 1% cut in the property tax levy stands.
Westchester Board of Legislators Approves 2011 Budget; County Exec Says Budget is "Filled With Gimmicks"
Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators voted to override County Executive Rob Astorino's vetoes and approved a 2011 spending plan today that reduces spending by $28.5 million from the 2010 budget and cuts taxes by 2%.
There were overrides on 247 of the County Executive's 249 vetoes.
Democrats on the Board say the spending plan approved presents a more "fiscally responsible alternative to the County Executive's original budget proposal."
Saying he could not sign a budget with phony revenues, wasteful spending and unfunded liabilities, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced this afternoon that he will veto 247 lines in the 2011 budget approved last week by the Board of Legislators.
Said Astorino, While it is commendable that the board followed my lead to reduce County property taxes, legislators did so in an irresponsible way. The combination of phony revenues, wasteful spending, unfunded liabilities and rejection of generally accepted accounting principles jeopardizes our AAA credit rating." He went on to add, " I cannot sign the budget in its current form."
The vetoes announced today include items recently returned to the budget by the Legislators-day care programs, Section 8 Housing Voucher Program,neighborhood health centers, The Human Rights Commission,a homeless shelter and community mental health clinics.
Legislators had also restored all but 95 of the 226 layoffs Astorino had called for. Today he vetoed that restoration of jobs.
Today was the last day line-item vetoes could be made under the County Charter.
His vetos can still be overriden by a two-thirds vote of the Legislators. The Democrats control the board by a 12-5 margin.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is expected to announce tomorrow that he's used his veto pen and taken it to the newly approved 2011 budget submitted by the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Precisely, what will be cut, is unclear at this point.
The County Executive has five days after the Board of Legislators approves a budget to make line item vetos.
In a 16-1 bi-partisan vote, the Westchester County Board of Legislators approved a budget for 2011 that cuts taxes by 2%, reduces the County workforce by 10% and restores many services were targeted for cuts in County Executive Rob Astorino's original budget proposal.
Board Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) said "The County has had to make exceedingly difficult decisions. Despite the obstacles, the Democratic Majority has presented a budget that will preserve the most critical County services without raising taxes."
Got a question about Westchester County's 2011 budget?
Answers are just a phone call away.
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will host a live telephone town hall meeting Wednesday night from 7-8 pm.
Residents seeking to listen in, or pose a question to the County Executive can call toll free at (888)886-6603 and enter event ID 16011.
Astorino says he's been receiving a large number of calls and emails about the proposed spending plan and thought the conference call would be the best way to explain to residents the facts behind the budget and to answer questions.
Democrats on the Westchester County Board of Legislators have come up with a plan that they say will eliminate proposed cuts to services and still maintain a 1% tax decrease for residents.
Last month, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino presented the proposed spending plan that included cuts to numerous social service programs.
Yesterday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators Committee on Budget and Appropriations unveiled its suggestions, announcing its proposed additions and changes to the spending plan before the December 6 required deadline.
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