ALBANY (March 11, 2010)—“I certainly welcome the plan proposed by Lt. Governor Ravitch for review because we need reform in the budget process. A five-year plan is a good idea and his success with a similar plan during New York City’s crisis decades ago gives the plan a certain amount of credibility to start.
“Over the years we’ve seen adjustments made here and there to the budget process, but fundamental change is long overdue, whether we’re talking zero-based budgeting and performance-based budgeting, or some other means. Moving the fiscal year to July 1, installing a pay as you go system, controls on spending and taking the politics out of the equation through an independent review board, are all intriguing ideas that need further discussion.
“However, my concern with Mr. Ravitch’s plan is primarily the debt component. The previous leadership in Albany borrowed and spent through tough times leading up to these past few years being a much more difficult crisis to pull through for the state. Borrowing for day to day expenses or to plug a deficit could end up just causing more trouble down the road. Debt service from the borrowing this state and its authorities have already done is a cost we cannot cut. We can only keep it from growing larger still by avoiding more debt.
“In the end, this plan must be reviewed thoroughly and not dismissed immediately because it does point to the need for change. We need to consider solutions outside of our comfort zone to do what is best for New York State to restore our economy, provide a quality education for our children, and ensure that essential services from road repair to health care are intact.”