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Collins takes to airwaves for support

Erie County Executive Chris Collins has taken to the airwaves in his effort to draw public opinion to his side in his latest budget scrape with the Legislature.

Collins today began a series of advertisements on local radio paid by his campaign account. The spots label the Legislature's additional spending for 2011 as reckless and likely to trigger a tax increase if allowed to stand.

"The career politicians in the County Legislature and their special-interest friends are at it again," Collins, who is heading into an election year, says in the advertisement.

"In this most recent budget, they want to undo some of our reforms and make you pay for their pork-barrel spending, even if it means raising your taxes."

Over Collins' objections, the Legislature returned $4 million he had cut from the library system. Lawmakers gave an array of cultural organizations $1.2 million when Collins wanted them to receive no county support. They restored jobs for Comptroller Mark C. Poloncarz's staff when Collins had cut the department run by his potential political rival by 36 percent.

Legislature Democrats, who drove the additions, says their plan takes money from other areas of the budget so no tax increase is necessary.

-- Matt Spina

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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

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Tom Precious

Tom Precious

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Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

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Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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