For Immediate Release
Democrats Reject Dutchess County Budget
“The Democratic caucus could not responsibly support a budget that cuts vital resources to county residents, many of which encourage employment & job growth while reducing social service costs, both now and down the road. Our proposed increases in expenditures were all offset, either with reimbursements, or through increasing revenues other than the property tax. This is the perfect example of being ‘pennywise and pound foolish’ with taxpayer money, and in future years we’ll see the consequences,” said Sandy Goldberg, Minority Leader.
All six Democrats, as well as Jim Doxsey, a Conservative who caucuses with them, voted against the final budget.
“Unfortunately, the County Executive’s widely touted consolidation of departments was really just a shuffling of personnel and desks, while adding an extra layer of management and bureaucracy. He was never able to demonstrate that it amounted to serious cost-savings. His budget was about politics as we head into his re-election campaign, and at the end of the day, smoke and mirrors doesn’t replace responsible governance. This has been a pattern – every year that he is up for election, Steinhaus claims a zero-increase budget, but the consequence is that he has to raise taxes in subsequent years,” said Elisa Sumner, Chairwoman of the Dutchess County Democratic Committee
The Republican Legislature was able to maintain the visage of a balanced budget by claiming a projection of 3.75% growth in sales tax revenue. The Executive projected only 3%, and the Republican legislators were unable to provide any explanation of how they reached such an optimistic projection.
“We focused our efforts on restoring funding to areas of the budget which pay for themselves, either through state and federal reimbursements, or savings down the road. For example, Wheels-to-Work costs us less than $100,000 annually, but the Department of Social Services explained that its restoration would save the county $6.2 million,” said Dan Kuffner, Assistant Minority Leader.
The amended budget will now to go the County Executive, who may choose to exercise his veto authority. The Legislature would then have the opportunity to override some or all of those vetoes with a supermajority of 17 votes. There are 18 Republicans in the County Legislature, meaning they have the ability to pass any amendment and override any veto.
Contact: Pat Kelly