Borrow-and-spend Senate Majority Approves Nearly $5-billion In Tax Cuts & Budget Increases While Opposing Healthcare Restructuring

Liz Krueger

March 16, 2007

“They are trying to pretend that they are not increasing the budget, but the numbers don’t lie, they do,” Krueger declared. “There is no logic in their spending and if you follow the numbers you will find there is no logic in their arguments. There is also no plan for how we will account for $4.5-billion in new spending and lost revenue, and there is no initiative to re-evaluate how we are currently spending the taxpayer’s money. That is the very definition of fiscal irresponsibility.”

In opposing the Governor’s initial healthcare budget, Majority Leader Joe Bruno ignored procedural protocol and brought the Governor’s bill to a vote before the bill had made its way through bi-partisan conference committees, the step in which initiatives are debated and amended before a full vote of the Senate. Instead of proposing amendment or an alternate budget proposal altogether, the Republicans proposed a resolution that was devoid of specifics and provided no blueprint that would keep the budget process moving forward.

Among the instrumental initiatives in the Governor’s Healthy Living package:

  • Expanding eligibility for Child Health Plus;
  • “As is, our system is fatally flawed in concept and implementation. We have spent decades focusing on helping those who are sick, without enacting programs that would reduce sickness in the first place. This costs us money and lives. Emergency rooms are filled to the brim with patients. One approach is to build bigger emergency rooms while another is to shift course so that fewer people end up needing emergency rooms. I prefer the latter,” Krueger said.

    “The problems in our healthcare delivery system have long been known. The SenateMajority could have taken action to fix them. But they didn’t. They left that responsibility for someone else, just as future generations will be stuck footing the bill for their spending increases. It seems a bit disingenuous for them to stand on the floor of the Senate and say ‘yes the system needs to be fixed’ and then turn around and vote against the first serious proposals that would begin to fix it,” Krueger said.

    “These are the same folks who have passed endless bills reducing coverage in private and public health plans, and who have repeatedly wanted to cut Child and Family Health Plus because there were too many poor kids signing up,” Krueger said.