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Collins threatens vetoes, Democrats defend added spending

Erie County Executive Chris Collins
Erie County Executive Chris Collins

By Mark Scott and Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Executive Chris Collins and the County Legislature remain at odds over the 2011 county budget. Each held competing news conferences Tuesday.

Collins claims the budget approved by the Legislature last week will result in a property tax increase of "millions and millions of dollars."

"The Legislature's math does not add up," Collins said.

The Legislature restored funding for libraries, arts and cultural groups and summer youth programs. Collins is expected to veto some of that extra funding.

But Majority Leader Maria Whyte and some of her Democratic colleagues defended their budget changes, accusing Collins of engaging in scare tactics. Whyte says there is enough money available to continue the summer youth funding.

"It's not a bats and balls recreation program," Whyte said. "It's a program that targets positive youth development, which includes academic enrichment, literacy and the arts."

Collins must issue his budget vetoes by Monday. Legislators will then meet Tuesday to try and override the vetoes.