ALBANY On Monday, Dec. 5, the Albany County Legislature adopted a $598 million budget with an 8 percent tax hike. Exactly one week later on Monday, Dec. 12, County Executive Michael Breslin exercised his veto power. And on Wednesday, Dec. 14, the 2012 Albany County budget showdown came to a close when the legislature voted 27-7 to override Breslin’s veto, keeping the 2012 legislative budget intact.
“We all have to take some blame and accept our small part,” said Shawn Morse, chair of the audit and finance committee. “The legislature has to exercise direction and figure out how to save money throughout the year.”
The body needed at least 26 “yes” votes to override Breslin’s veto and failure to record those necessary votes would have enacted a budget with a 13 percent tax hike, still less than the initial 19.2 percent increase Breslin proposed in his Executive Budget.
“The budget is a document that changes every single day and will change a million times throughout the year,” said Morse. “We need to take into consideration, as money is coming in or not coming in, are we meeting our expectations?”
Breslin released a statement right after the override vote, saying his proposed budget was “very tightly drawn” and the legislature’s changes put the county at risk.
“There is no room to account for the unknowns of the state budget and the economy,” said Breslin.
In a letter that called the legislative budget “impractical and unsustainable,” Breslin had laid out various issues he felt would have detrimental effects on the residents of Albany County, from services provided to financial stability.
“While the legislative changes may lower the tax increase on paper, they put the county in a precarious position to maintain operations,” said Breslin in the letter, also stating the legislative budget included “unrealistic savings and overly optimistic revenue estimates.”