Says Unfunded State Mandates Root Cause of Westchester's Budget Woes But He Also Takes a Swipe at Astorino
On Friday, April 19, in his talk at WCA's Political Friday series, County Legislator Bill Ryan was careful not to criticize his fellow Democrats, who he hopes will select him next Wednesday to run against Republican incumbent Rob Astorino in the race for...
Legislator Bill Ryan
...Westchester County Executive. But he wasted no time in blasting Astorino for the slow pace of moving construction projects forward.
"There are hundreds of capital projects needed to build our roads and bridges," he said, pointing out that Westchester has a huge inventory of infrastructure that requires constant maintenance. "But that's come to a grinding halt. If I were County Executive, I'd work hard with the Board [of Legislators] to make that happen. I'm not big on austerity. I don't understand why we're not getting this done."
Ryan did not, however, place the entire blame for Westchester's budget woes on Astorino. "We're an administrative arm of New York State government," he explained, "and the chief administrators of service delivery. Unfunded state mandates are at the root of our current financial difficulties."
Ryan said he'd fight for more economic development in the county. "We've got an unparalleled opportunity for economic growth but we're blowing it." He did not elaborate on what steps he would take to spur that growth, but he did say he was in favor of maintaining the County's Triple A credit rating and centralizing many of the services that are provided now by local municipalities.
He said he was running for County Executive because "I have a different view of what we should be doing. There are thousands upon thousands of people in Westchester County who need the help of County government. Our core mission is to take care of the poor and needy."
Bill Ryan is the immediate past Chairman of the Board of Legislators and is now in his eight term representing Westchester's fifth district. He is a former NYS Assemblyman and president of the NYS Association of Counties. At present, he is a director of the National Association of Counties in Washington, D.C.