Today’s actions by the Republican minority caucus in the Erie County Legislature are driving Erie County towards our own “Fiscal Cliff.” As we see in Washington, the Republicans are good at saying “no” and creating political chaos, but they are failures when it comes to governing responsibly and making tough choices.

Republican county legislators have returned to the sham budgeting and one-shot gimmicks that led to the Red/Green County budget crisis in 2004. Their amendments to the 2013 Proposed County Budget are fiscally irresponsible and could cause the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority to return to a “hard” control period. In their zealous quest to embarrass the County Executive by artificially creating a budget crisis, they are jeopardizing our community’s long-term fiscal health.

Republicans might not like government, but as public officials they have a responsibility to the people they represent. The public has called for responsive and responsible government, which includes services and support for community and cultural organizations that contribute to the quality of life that we enjoy in Erie County.

The Erie County Comptroller’s office has analyzed County Executive Poloncarz’s Proposed Budget for 2013 and declared that it is sound and reasonable. The Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority conducted its own independent analysis declaring the County Executive’s budget to be balanced and reasonable and its board unanimously approved the budget and Four Year Financial Plan on October 26th. ECFSA’s chairman publicly expressed the control board’s concerns that the Republican amendments are unbalanced and unreasonable when he testified at the Legislature on December 3rd.

The Democratic majority has done its due diligence, analyzing the budget and making suggestions for improvements based on input from the public. Their proposed amendments would have included continued support for programs that benefit children and seniors.

True leadership demands hard work and tough choices. Unfortunately today the Republican Minority chose to return to the short-cuts, gimmicks and one-shot deals that have put taxpayers at risk in the past. Every budget provides the opportunity to move our community forward. The County Executive put forth a balanced budget that grows our community in a responsible manner.

We will continue to work hard for the progressive values that our Democratic leaders stood for today.