Yellow Budget

Donn Esmonde gets it.
There had better be political blood on the floor. There had better be cell phones turned in, keys to free cars handed back, patronage bodies on the table and slush funds slashed. Erie County lawmakers lurched Tuesday toward a 9.25 percent sales tax, sending a bid for a penny hike to Albany. Once it's rubber-stamped in Albany, county legislators will likely pass the 1-cent increase Thursday. It needs to come with political pain. County Executive Joel Giambra and the 15 lawmakers need to take a hit that didn't come when the patronage-preserving 'green' budget was tentatively OK'd two months ago. They can't put another brick on our load without putting their perks and privileges on the chopping block. If they force it down our throats, with their free hand they can empty their own pockets. They can give us comfort by getting less comfortable. That's what the red/green budget fiasco has come to. We want our pound of flesh - or, in this case, of political fat. The taxpayers who sued the county should at least extract some suet. It's the cold comfort, the slight satisfaction, the silver lining of the 9.25. It ain't much, but it's the best the tax-weary can do. Lawmaker Al DeBenedetti says cuts are the price of his swing vote. He wants them on the table Thursday, before he votes to make the penny real. 'Things are moving (toward) making the kind of spending cuts we need,' he said after Tuesday's vote. 'The details usually get hammered out at the end.' "
*Sigh*. Another year, another tax hike. Recall 'em all.

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