Seward Comments On Stimulus Package And State Budget

James L. Seward

January 27, 2009

“The federal stimulus package can be an enormous shot in the arm for all New Yorkers and our budget, but only if we use the money wisely.

“We need to make sure a portion of federal funds received are used to stop the massive tax increase proposed in the governor’s budget. We cannot look at the federal stimulus package as a big ‘one shot’ and continue spending beyond our means. Structural reform is necessary, and so far the governor has not presented us with any real reform plan. Real changes have got to be part of the budget this year.

“I am also concerned about progress on the state budget. We are not moving forward in a timely manner, and the governor needs to answer why. He made lofty proposals when he presented his budget and again during his state of the state address, so far though he has not lived up to the hype. Just today he called a private leaders meeting, going back to three men in a room, or more specifically, three New York City democrats in a room. Where is the reform we were promised?

“School administrators, town and county officials, and healthcare groups, to name a few, are waiting for the state budget so they can move forward with their own fiscal planning. We are going to be asking them to deal with a tough budget, the least we can do is get them the plan by the April 1st deadline so they can move forward with their own difficult decision making process.”