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Vote Set for 2007 Erie County Budget

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The drama of recent Erie County budget votes appeared to be absent from the initial vote Wednesday.

Majority Democrats placed their revised 2007 budget on the table and will vote on it Friday.

It would hold the line on taxes, cut management pay raises, some new jobs and vacancies. It also adds some funding for tourism, libraries, youth services and probation. Only two Republicans voted against putting the budget up for a final vote.

Legislature Chairwoman Lynn Marinelli said good planning is responsible for the peace.

Still, some legislature newcomers were likely quiet because they are still not entirely sure what the final amendments include.

Democrat Cynthia Locklear said she will have to spend some time reviewing the amendment packages before she knows how she will vote tomorrow.

Locklear said she will pay special attention to cultural funding. She and Republicans favor restoring the funding lost to dozens of groups two years ago. The Democrats revision trims about two percent from each group and adds a few new ones.

Locklear also favors an amendment being submitted Friday by the Minority that would take $10 million from the medicaid line to offset the 3/4% of a cent sales tax.

But Marinelli called that irresponsible, saying that money is not surplus.

To make sure there are no shortfalls in sales tax, the revised budget includes a resolution to establish a roughly three million dollar contingency account. The money would be used only if sales tax collections come in lower than projected.

The budget is expected to get at least the eight votes needed to pass tomorrow.

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