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December 12th, 2012

County Exec. exercises line item veto on budget

GOSHEN – As required by the Orange County Charter, Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana recently responded to the Legislature’s proposed amendments to the Executive’s Proposed 2013 budget in order to meet the December 1st deadline. County Executive Diana exercised his right to veto by rejecting the Legislature’s amended budget for 2013.

"The budget amendments proposed by the Legislature would raise the tax levy by 8.55% and the County tax rate by $3.79 per thousand, an increase of 14.13% over the 2012 Adopted Budget. Orange County residents are still recovering from major storms two years in a row and coping with on-going economic challenges on a local, state, and national level. To impose such a burden on our already struggling constituents is both irresponsible and unconscionable," said Diana.

Imposing such a tax increase also exceeds the New York State 2% tax levy cap, which requires passage of a local law. Despite being notified of this, the Legislature did not enact a local law. As a result, a tax levy in excess of 2% would be in violation of New York State law.

Despite warnings from their financial consultants, the Legislature has included unrealized IGT funding of $6 million in the proposed amendments.

"Last year, the Legislature’s auditors warned that it would be ‘imprudent’ to estimate any revenue from IGT funding," said Diana. "Wise advice, as funds have yet to be received, even as we approach the end of 2012. Despite this, the Legislature has once again proposed using unrealized IGT funds to balance their amendments to the 2013 budget."

Additional amendments from the Legislature rely on nursing home revenues and expense reductions that are hypothetical, plus give-backs and concessions from CSEA that have not been offered.

"Unfortunately, the Legislature has presented proposed budget amendments that are rife with flaws and inaccuracies that do not reflect sound and accepted accounting and budgetary standards," remarked Diana. "To accept their proposal would risk the financial health and well-being of our County and limit my ability as Chief Executive and Chief Budget Officer of Orange County to serve all 372,000 residents of this great County. These are risks I am simply not willing to take and therefore veto the Legislature’s proposed amendments."

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