Monday, December 07, 2009


What I just witnessed should never have happened. In a valiant attempt by the Lame Duck Democratic majority of the current Legislature, the possible jobs, programs, and spare change for the taxpayer was offered against the Executive Budget presented by Michael Hein.

Executive Hein offered his version of the 2010 budget with dozens of county jobs cut, programs for Home Healthcare Nursing, The Evolve recovery program, Library funding, CCP and too many other neccessary functions of the County slashed from the general budget. The only chance to bolster the support needed was during this process.
Other than two NO votes from the present Democratic Majority, the amended budget failed along party lines. The single request from the Republican Minority was the elimination of one position in the Executive's branch. As a result, both parties stood their ground and the people of Ulster County got a 5.6% increase in taxes and diminished services.

Having just watched the unanimous vote in favor of all the Ways & Means amendments to the budget by the whole Legislature, this result took me by surprize. I know what options we had during our own budget negotiation here in the city, but we managed to save most of the programs. This is a whole different ball game.

Everywhere I looked, I saw faces filled with dismay. Trying to grasp what just happened. I wondered myself if this being their first budget experience under the new charter had something to do with it. I know the volley structure of the Legislature/Executive relationship. Some of them, I have to question.

I was thinking of one thought on a loop in my head, imagining one of the NO voters pointing their finger at me saying: "We'll fix Mike Hein by voting down the modified budget and end up with Mike Hein's budget!" Yeah, that was really smart.

As it sits, Mike and the NO votes own this budget and it's going to be up to the next governing body to clean up this mess. I hope my comrades are ready to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, because it's going to be tough goin in 2010.


Anonymous said...

Reader's Digest synopsis...30 people are losing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Even Hein didn't like the Hein budget. The legislature was supposed to work as a team to accomplish something better. Indeed they did, right up to the last minute.
With seconds to spare, both sides huddled during the short break. The Republicans played wth the personnel in Heins office as a wager to pass the new budget. The Dems wouldn't blink.
Who benefits?

Anonymous said...

The only thing I would disagree with cutting - out of the following - "programs for Home Healthcare Nursing, The Evolve recovery program, Library funding [and] CCP" --- is the funding for the Libraries.

I remember the "old days" (lol) when home health care needs [immediately after childbirth, a surgery, etc) were met by a visiting county nurse (or nurses) - which was much different than the onslaught of home nursing agencies we see out there today...

When "evolve" generally meant to grow and transform into something (or someone) "better" [which is not necessarily the case with the Evolve program, which I have heard my share of attendees ridicule...] ---

And when CCP [which has had a negative impact, in my opinion, on the local recovery programs --- and the people that voluntarily attend "same"] did not - as such - exist.

Libraries though - libraries (in my opinon) fall into the education category - and, as such, provide resources that can't necessarily (for walkers, the poor, children, the elderly and the general population) be obtained elsewhere --- including that oh-so-important information highway --- internet access.

Just some thoughts.


Anonymous said...

You are being a bit disingenuous Mike. The budget amendments that were voted down were only marginally better then what Hein proposed. They did not reinstate all 30 jobs, only 4 of them if I am not mistaken and that was simply not good enough for many. They idea of moving money over to the legislature's control was interesting, but in terms of strengthening the Legislature a rather tepid move.

What is very telling is 8:04's comment that not even Hein liked his budget. Then why did he propose it? The answer to that is simple politics. He wanted the Legislature to be on the hook for a larger tax increase, so he could look like the more fiscally disciplined party. He would have had no problem to again throwing a Donaldson led legislature under the bus and blaming them for more taxes.

Anonymous said...

7:34 none of these 30 are freinds of Hein, so who cares!
Proof he is only there to serve his ego and his peeps

Anonymous said...

What happened to the comptrollers request for more people? I thought that I read that he got his increase.

So that would mean that in this budget the working stiffs get laid off and the elected politicans get to create and keep more jobs for their friends and donors.

I hope that people remember this in the upcoming comptroller and executive elections. So far all that I have seen is Mike Hein trying to make himself look good, and Auerbach following behind like a good lap dog and providing "evidence" to back Hein up. And for his hard work Auerbach gets to hire his friends now.

Next year I had better see the legislature push for the comptroller and executive budget slashed by at least half or I am voting for new legislators once again. That is what I hope for from the incoming legislature, any less isn't good enough!!!

Anonymous said...

A reading of the budget process in the charter shows that it is set up for the County Executive to get his way unless the Legislature either works in a bipartisan manner (unlikely) or is dominated by one party so that it is capable of getting a super majority vote to over ride the county executive.

The Republicans were looking for very substantial changes in the budget while the Democrats seemed happy with the appearance of making changes.

Anonymous said...

We are about to see Kingston Progressive morph into a county issue blog very quickly. Your experience and views will evolve as well. Kingston is but a small petting zoo when it comes to issues that Matter.

You will be right in the mix of things and your name is attached, unlike the other blogs. It will be fun to watch the new version of Madness appear, even if you are tempoarily in the minority.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you are out to lunch on this one. Your favorite County Executive tried to once again throw the legislators under the bus, and he outsmarted himself. This is not the responsibility of the Reps. It was the failure of the Dems., and Mr. Donaldson to muster 17 votes to pass Heins budget. In addition, you need to wkae up in a hurry, if you are going to represent us. It was common knowledge that Hein was making calls to the legislators begging them to pass thier version of the budget. What the hell does that tell you?? It tells me , his was a phony budget, and he was trying to get the legislators to take the hit. Thanks to two courageous dems and a bunch of Reps, it didnt work, and not Mr.BS is stuck with a budget he never should have proposed. Nice going Mike, just what we need, 10% unemployment and a 5% tax increase.

Anonymous said...

Mike: These guys play hardball- good or bad- hope that you continue the blog in its current stage-
good luck,

tonights guest on City & County will be Jean Jacobs ch 23 7:00 PM

one who knows said...

sorry big guy,,

yer wrong on this one,

the Big Kahuna ( in his mind ) needs some checks & balances & yr caucus knuckled under to Hein's hammer & failed the people -

now see what will happen to the power of autonomy ( Hein) with a Legislature that isnt totally made up of sycophants ( Lomita ).

sorry, Donaldson dropped the ball again on this budget vote,, he had a back door given to him & he steered the ship onto the rocks AGAIN !

Anonymous said...

Was it your impression that most of the legislators did not have a grasp on what was going on and became confused when no meant yes and yes meant no?
Do you think it would have been smart if the leadership recessed and either returned to their respective caucus or reconvened on Tuesday or Wednesday when calmer heads prevailed?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Donaldson did not fail to muster 17 votes to pass Hein's budget. Hein's budget was passed. Donaldson failed to get 17 votes to FIX HEIN'S FLAWED BUDGET.

Hein put together a flawed budget with mistakes in revenue (an accounting error and an overstatement of sales tax revenues - oh yes time will prove me right on this one) and then Hein cut out much needed expenditures. He figured with the Dems in the majority, that he could rely on them to "amend" his mistakes.

Well the joke is on Mike. Mike submitted his budget, and he is going to get that budget. Didn't he campaign on "hitting the ground running" and to be a "budget wizard".

Wizards don't submit budgets like this. NO WAY is there a problem with what the Republicans did. This is all Hein's fault. He should have never submited a budget that he couldn't live with. He NEEDED it to be amended and HE didn't have the votes.

Hein is just plain stupid. He gambled with the taxpayers future and jobs to try and make himself look good and the Legislators look bad by increasing spending.

He bet wrong. I hope he is voted out in 2011.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats knew what was going on. The Republicans were taking advice from Noonan, Gerentine, Hansut and the boy wonder Ronk. Look at them now, up the creek with no paddle in sight. What a bunch of fools.

Fathead Wadnola sat there barely able to keep his eyes open and let it all happen. He figured they had the Dems outsmarted. They had bad advice, and made a bad decision. Welcome to 2010.

The Democrats did a good job with the amendments to move the money around and minimize the impact. Hein who was counting on the Dems to fix things, got what he asked for. Good for both the Republicans and the egomaniac Hein.

Rich Parete and Frank Dart are both morons. What were they thinking?

Anonymous said...

It was all in the numbers. There were only 16 Democrats present with seventeen needed to pass an amended budget. Dart and Rich Parete's votes were inconsequential, but like the morons they are, they voted against the amendments. This will lead to more than 30 jobs lost.

All the Republicans were interested in was getting rid of March Gallagher who had embarrassed Bernardo over his lack of promised job creation after receiving state money.

Now we have an omnipotent Executive and an impotent Legislature, so much for checks and balances.

Anonymous said...

For every government job saved two private jobs were lost.