"This year, as we continue to face a struggling economy, both locally and nationally, there was no easy way to balance our State’s budget. Our State government has less money and more debt, while the need for public services has only increased. New York is not alone; 44 States are facing combined budget deficits of over $112 Billion this year. As legislators, we knew that painful cuts would have to be made to vital programs, and the only fair scenario was one in which the sacrifices were shared by all. But when the language and details of this year’s budget were finally revealed, just hours before votes were cast, it became clear that this budget was anything but fair.
The following oped was published in today's Our Town.
By Liz Krueger
Even in the best of economic times, it’s never “easy” to balance the State’s budget. This year it was particularly difficult because our state government had less money and more debt, while the need for public services has only increased. This is not a problem unique to New York: 44 states are facing a combined budget deficit of over $112 billion this year, as the nation struggles to climb its way out of the recession.
Nov. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering restructuring New York's tax code as he prepares a budget that must close a deficit as large as $3.5 billion after a temporary surcharge on those earning at least $200,000 expires Dec. 31.
Cuomo has said he opposes the state's so-called millionaire's tax. With the levy set to expire at year's end, he's now discussing a broader rethinking.
"What I'm looking at is what do you do with the tax code and how you use the tax code to stimulate jobs," the 53-year- old first-term Democrat said on WGDJ in Albany today.
The proposed provision in the state budget, which still faces debate and a vote by the Legislature, would allow the governor to move money “for the purpose of planning, developing and/or implementing the consolidation of administration, business services, procurement, information technology and/or other functions shared among agencies.” Mr. Cuomo’s office argues that without this provision, the commission’s recommendations might be held up until next year’s budget process.
Albany’s Legislative Gazette reports on the inclusion of hundreds of millions in funding for improvements to the Javits Center in the budget, despite the likelihood that the facility is being phased out.
Some lawmakers, including Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, have expressed concern over the spending of $350 million when the benefits may last only a few years, seemingly in direct contrast with Cuomo’s efficient spending efforts.
Sen. Krueger issued the following statement Thursday evening, shortly after 8pm:
I just received a 'draft' one-house budget resolution around 5:30 pm. There are no budget bills spelling out details, and there are no actual total amounts for new spending, additions, or subtractions.
Sen. Krueger was quoted in Michael Powell's New York Times column, which assesses the Senate's "one-house" budget.
None of this fun is remotely real. The governor and the Legislature are weeks away from a final budget. Most senators had not even seen the underlying budget documents when they voted at 3 a.m. (It’s a reliable rule of thumb that early-morning votes bear a close relationship to hallucinogenic results.) State Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat, played spoilsport.
“At best, this is a shopping list with no budgetary legitimacy,” she wrote in her official statement. “More realistically, it is a classic Albany scam designed to make everyone think they should be happy, without answering any of the important questions, like ‘How will we pay for this?’ ” I called her the next day.
“There was Monopoly money available for anything and everything you could imagine,” she noted with the bemused tone of a liberal Democrat who keeps finding herself dressed in conservative sack cloth in Albany. “No one even pretends the numbers add up.”
Sen. Krueger issued the following statement in response to the latest Daily News editorial criticizing her opposition to a tax credit scam that would siphon millions in taxpayer money to reimburse wealthy donors to well-funded private and charter schools:
"Nothing in today's Daily News editorial substantively disputes or debunks any factual claim I've made. I know they're called the opinion pages for a reason, but that doesn't mean they should be totally fact-free.