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Westchester County Board of Legislators Passes Budget for 2011
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."
Republican County Legislator John Testa of Peekskill said GOP lawmakers voted "yes" for the spending plan was to "lock in the 2% tax reduction, because what happens from this point on, even if there are line item vetoes, the tax reduction must remain locked in at 2%."
He criticized the Democratic Majority for pushing through the last minute changes without giving fellow Legislators the weekend to look them over. Instead, he says, lawmakers had only about an hour to pour through the changes to the $1.79 billion spending plan.
Majority Leader Peter Harckham (D-Katonah) was pleased with the final outcome, saying, "The Legislature has approved a budget that lowers the tax levy, reduces spending and protects public safety, health and essential services."
The budget now goes before the County Executive where it will be reviewed and possible changes made.
Some highlights of the newly passed budget:
Reduces taxes by 2% compared to the County Executive's proposed reduction of 1%
Reduces the County workforce by 10%(funded through grants, additional revenue and corresponding deletions)
Elminates Astorino's proposed one-shot to bond tax certioraris (uses cash from the 2010 fund balance as opposed to "borrowing money.")
Restores Public Safety, Health and Services cut in the County Executive's spending plan.
Provides six months of transitional funding for community mental health clinics.
Restores funding for community health centers and child care services.
Reinstates the County's Contract of the Section 8 program.
Around the Country
- Southwest to Cancel Flights as Jets Checked for Cracks - BusinessWeek
- Schumer: Dems slicing budget with scalpel, Tea Party using meat ax - CNN (blog)
- Duke lacrosse accuser arrested in boyfriend's stabbing - CNN International
- House GOP: $4 trillion in cuts - CNN
- Bachmann bids for 'bama eyes - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Around the Planet
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- Japan's nuclear workers try to trace leak, dump radioactive water - Los Angeles Times
- OSCE raps Kazakh election, presses for reforms - Reuters
- Newsmaker: Yemen survivor Saleh juggles forces to keep power - Reuters
- France says finds bodies in Atlantic crash wreckage - Reuters