County Exec calls dedicated road fund proposal a 'fiscal gimmick'

Mar 31, 2015

Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs (right) and Legislator Edward Rath (left) propose law to direct Auto Bureau excess revenue to a county "Road Fund"
Credit Erie County Clerk's Office / WBFO News

Funding for road repair and snow plowing in Erie County could receive its own dedicated funding source.

County Clerk Chris Jacobs has proposed a law that would take all excess revenue from the county’s Auto Bureau, and send it directly to the “Road Fund.” He said that if started in 2016, at least 15-million dollars over four years would be exclusively devoted.

That money currently goes towards a general fund, which County Executive Mark Poloncarz said pays for the parks, social services, public arts, and health programs. He called the move an election-year ploy that would require raising taxes, and said supporters of the law, like Legislator Edward Rath, are pandering to the public.

“So I think if you ask Legislator Rath, ‘Do you want to cut those things?’ he’ll say, ‘Of course not, because we can do all this and more.’ Well it’s the same thing we’ve heard for many, many hears which is, ‘Well give you everything you want, and you don’t have to pay for it.’ But folks, you have to pay for it,” Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz said similar fiscal gimmicks under previous past Republican leadership led to the destruction of the County’s finances. If passed, the law would need to be approved by voters on the November ballot.