BUFFALO, NY - The Erie County Legislature failed to override County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s veto of the “Made in America Act”.
The legislation, passed by lawmakers last month, would have required that goods purchased by the county with a value of more than $10,000, contain at least 51 percent American made content.
Poloncarz said he vetoed the bill, which had passed the legislature by a 9-1 margin with bi-partisan support, because he was pretty certain the measure — though perhaps well intended — would have violated state procurement laws.
Had each lawmaker who supported the bill when it passed in August voted the same way, Poloncarz’s veto would have been easily overridden.
However, in a strictly party line vote on Thursday several democrats switched in their support of the measure, siding with their fellow democrat, the County Executive. Thus, there was not enough votes to attain the super-majority required to override the veto.
“It’s pathetic!" exclaimed County Legislator Ted B. Morton (R-8th District) who authored the Made in America Act.
“All of the sudden, three of those nine votes changed because the County Executive either told them or pressured them into it? Politics at its worst," Morton said.
“It’s par for the course,” said Republican Majority Leader Joseph C. Lorigo. “The County Executive is very good at getting the minority caucus in line to rubber stamp whatever his agenda happens to be for the day."
Legislator Pat Burke (D-7th District) was the only consistent among democrats. He voted against the Made in America Act both when it came before the Legislature (as the lone no vote) and again by failing to vote against the County Executive’s veto.
Burke, however, says he’s ready with another bill that might accomplish some of the same things intended by the Made in America Act.
“It's called invest in Erie, invest in America,” Burke told 2 On Your Side. “It would give points in the bidding process to Erie County companies first, then Western New York companies, then American companies. So they will have an advantage, but it's through a legal process."
“I haven’t had an opportunity to read Legislator Burke's bill,” Lorigo said. But now that the veto override failed, I think we should take a look at Legislator Morton's original bill, and see if we can work together with the County Executive on a compromise and get something done, because I think we all support American workers and American jobs"
Democrats who switched their votes, didn't hang around very long after the session and we were unable to get their comment on camera as to why they voted the way they did. They also failed to return phone calls as of Thursday evening.
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