Winner: What about public budget negotiations?

George Winner

May 05, 2010

Albany, N.Y.–State Senator George Winner (R-C-I, Elmira) continued today to call on Senate and Assembly leaders to conduct public negotiations over the final 2010-2011 state budget.

“People are fed up with the inaction, and we should at least have the chance to hear about and read about the budget negotiations that state leaders are having behind closed doors,” Winner said, noting that legislative Republicans have been shut out of this year’s budget talks.  “This budget-in-secret process isn’t working, so why not try to jump-start negotiations through a public process?  What’s there to hide?”

Winner and many of his rank-and-file legislative colleagues have charged for weeks that legislative leaders are violating key elements of the state’s “Budget Reform Act of 2007,” which Winner helped develop and co-sponsored.  The 2007 budget reform law established legal guidelines and timetables for the appointment of joint legislative budget conference committees to conduct public budget negotiations – all of which, Winner said, were ignored by legislative leaders last year and are being ignored again now.
Under the 2007 law, Senate and Assembly leaders are required to put out a schedule within 10 days after the governor submits his proposed budget, which Governor David Paterson did on January 19th this year.  The schedule is required to set dates for:

> requiring each house of the Legislature to approve a budget resolution detailing their priorities;

> establishing joint, bipartisan budget conference committees for different areas of the budget;

> scheduling open, public budget conference committee meetings to examine and settle differences on key budget measures; and

> each conference committee to issue final reports and budget recommendations.