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Ryan veto could set up legal battle with Legislature over access to early budget data

Apr 18, 2021 5:45 am

Patricia Doxsey is reporting for the Daily Freeman Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan April 13, vetoed legislation that would have required his administration to provide the Legislature with the initial budget requests submitted by county departments, as well as all backup documentation, including graphs, reports and memos, in support of those requests. Ryan's move could set up potential legal action with the Legislature, if lawmakers vote to override the veto. In his veto message, Ryan said the measure violates the county charter and would hamper the administration's ability to build its proposed annual budget. "Even were the proposed law legal, which, without a [public] referendum, it is not, its enactment would have the effect of significantly impeding the budget process," Ryan wrote. Under the law, department heads would be required to submit the information to the Legislature by August 31 each year, more than one month before the county executive is required to release the tentative budget. And it would force department heads to provide their requests before they receive the information needed to make those requests. Ryan further argues that the law flies in the face of the county charter, which establishes the executive as the county's chief budgetary officer. The Legislature voted 20 to 3 in March to require department heads to turn over the information, which lawmakers said is actually a clarification of what the charter and prior legislation requires. Legislature Chair David Donaldson said he does not know if a vote to override Ryan's veto will be held. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

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