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Funding Push for Tourism Not Welcomed

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Erie County lawmakers Thursday rejected pressure to increase funding for the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The County Executive and the Fiscal Stability Authority had lobbied lawmakers to give tourism another roughly two million dollars.

The additional funding would have meant a full dedication of the bed tax to the CVB. That's something both the CVB and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership have argued for years should be done.

But legislator Michelle Ianello said the Control Board wanted them to take the money from reserves. And she said there was no support for that.

"A lot of my colleagues had a problem with the fact that the Control Board does not want us to use our fund balance for any reason, yet they wanted us to use the unaudited ssurplus beforre it actually became fund balance for 2006," said Ianello.

The legislature did vote twelve to three approving another controversial measure.

Lawmakers approved the roughly $5.5 million sale of several county buildings on the grounds of the Erie County Medical Center. Those opposed saidthe deal was rushed through with only one appraisal for a quick cash grab.