BUFFALO, N.Y. - As Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown took the wraps off his brand new budget plan, his headline was certainly no new taxes. Brown listed several alternate revenue streams that would afford him to make that pledge. One of them caught our attention. Brown explained "we have requested permission to adjudicate our own traffic tickets, something that we have requested from Albany for a number of years."
That would mean if you got a traffic ticket for a moving violation in the City of Buffalo, everything from speeding to running a red light, you would be able to try and plead it down, something you can do in most towns. It would also mean that the bulk of the revenue would stay in Buffalo rather than go straight to Albany like it has for years.
The Mayor says it would generate $2.5 million. The problem is that the legislation has not even made it out of committee in either house in Albany. Brown says " I feel good about it and in a 504 million dollar budget we can absorb $2.5 million. The other side of it is if we get it and we didn't put it in the budget, that would be money coming out of the pockets of the taxpayers of our community, and I would rather give the people their money back and not grow more surplus if not necessary."
The bill's sponsor, Senator Mark Grisanti (R-60th District) said Friday the legislation is moving, but there is still plenty of work to be done on it. It is just getting through the Transportation Committee and still needs to be reviewed by the Finance Committee before it can come to the Senate floor. It is taking a similar path in the Assembly. 'I'm not sure if I would have put it in as a revenue source for this year, because even if the Governor were to sign it, it may not take effect into the future so that was the state doesn't have a fiscal hit."
But the Mayor says based upon his conversations with the Governor's office, he is confident it will come through.