MAYVILLE - Something has to change.
County Executive Greg Edwards spoke Wednesday of how one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.
Counties across the state continue to pay Albany more and more each year, he said, cutting the local services they provide while always expecting some relief.
CSEA workers gathered with signs along the sidewalk of the Gerace Office Building during the County Legislature meeting Wednesday in Mayville.
P-J photo by Nicholas L. Dean
"Stop the insanity," Edwards said at one point during his budget presentation Wednesday.
The phrase became a sort of mantra for the county executive.
"I know counties across the state that have gone beyond frustration and now they're willing to consider action," Edwards said.
One county, he continued, intends to stop providing services as early as April when their expenses reach the 2 percent tax cap limit imposed by the state. Edwards has another idea. He's on board with the county Chamber of Commerce and wants to begin discussing the possibility of not sending the state its weekly Medicaid payment in 2012.
"We stop that, we don't send another penny unless they allow us to set our sales tax where it ought to be and they end the unfunded mandates that are driving up our property tax rate," Edwards said. "If they're willing to be reasonable, I'm willing to be reasonable.
"I asked the legislators to join me in that tonight," Edwards continued. "I ask all the people, all the residents of Chautauqua County, and every other county in New York state to join us because it's not until we call this question, not until we make it our state elected officials' problems that we can address it.
"As long as they can shovel the problem off to taxpayers in Chautauqua County under the guise that it is Chautauqua County," he said, "they will keep doing it, just like they've done to every other county across New York state. It won't be until we say, 'Enough. No more. It's your responsibility. If you want the program, you pay for it.' So that's what I asked the legislature to consider tonight."