Gov. Paterson has vetoed a bill that would have weakened oversight power of the Buffalo Fiscal Stabilization Authority. As the Buffalo Newsnoted in an editorial last week, this was the second legislative attempt in the past year to remove the city from “hard” control status, which in the past has included a 38-month wage freeze. Given the potential for other municipal fiscal crises around the state, which may require the creation of other control boards, the governor’s move sends the right message and is an important and positive precedent.
Assuming Paterson is not overridden, Buffalo’s fiscal control status quo will remain in effect until June 30, 2010, at which point consecutive balanced city budgets will allow the board to revert to “advisory” status (analagous to the position of New York City’s Financial Control Board).
More from the News editorial:
How much a factor the control board has been, other than to insist on concessions from the unions in return for any contract gains, is debatable. That insistence was a needed tool in a city that, with few exceptions prior to the control board, did not have a history of negotiating ultimately affordable contracts.
Weakening the control board also would ignore continuing problems in a significant piece of its oversight, the school district. While the city is in much better fiscal shape, the school district still has a way to go.
The veto of the Buffalo fiscal control bill was one of 14 announced today by the governor’s office, which said Paterson’s action had saved the state $5.7 million.