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New York City

SUBJECT: Improving transparency, forecasting and flexibility in New York State’s budgetary process.

Once again, New York finds itself in the midst of a fiscal crisis. While the economic downturn drove many of the state’s budgetary problems, they have been agitated severely by inadequate planning procedures that impede transparency, forecasting and flexibility. While the Legislature in 2007 passed a series of budget reforms, which required everything from the creation of joint conference committees to the itemization of member items in resolutions, many of these new rules are not being implemented as initially intended, or at all. Many proposals, such as the creation of an independent budget office and changing the start of the fiscal year, remain outstanding. Clearly, more changes are necessary to establish a more stable fiscal environment at multiple levels of government throughout New York.

Testimony should relate to proposals to improve budgeting in New York as well as the budgetary procedures of the Legislature and Executive. Some of the questions testimony should address include:

• What budget reforms from 2007 have worked well at improving the fiscal planning process?
 Which budget reforms have not worked as intended?
• Are there any budget reforms from 2007 the Legislature and Executive are not properly implementing, and how can this trend be corrected?
• What types of budget reforms should the Legislature consider to improve its ability to address fiscal crises, such as the current one?
• How can the state enhance its long-term planning capabilities to ensure greater fiscal stability?