Plan For Public Budget Process Is Laid Out in Law
Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos and members of the Senate Republican Conference today called on Senator John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to agree on a schedule for an open, public budget process that leads to adoption of an on-time state budget.
“We are 23 days away from the April 1st budget deadline and we have made no progress toward a new budget because Democrats in the Senate and Assembly are ignoring the state budget reform law that lays out a blueprint for an open, timely process,” Senator Skelos said. “New Yorkers don’t want a repeat of the secret budget process of last year. Senator Sampson and Speaker Silver should agree on a schedule immediately. It is not too late to set a schedule for an open, public and inclusive process so we can get a budget enacted on time.”
The Governor submitted his budget on January 19th. Under the budget reform law, the Senate and Assembly should have put out a schedule within 10 days that sets dates for:
- Each house to pass a budget bill or resolution detailing their budget priorities;
- Establishing joint, bipartisan budget conference committees for different areas of the budget;
- Scheduling open, public budget conference committee meetings to consider and reconcile the budget bills or resolutions passed by each house; and for
- Each conference committee to issue final reports and budget recommendations.
“This is a quick start process that provides for open, public discussions and deadlines for action that result in a new budget by April 1st,” Senator Skelos said. “To date, Democrats in the Senate and Assembly have not completed any part of this process.”
“When we followed the budget reform process in 2008 it worked, and we got a budget done on time,” Senator John DeFrancisco (R-C-I, Syracuse), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee said. “After Democrats took control of all parts of state government they chose to ignore this process in 2009 and the result was not just another late budget, but a very bad budget for taxpayers.”
Governor Paterson and legislative Democrats negotiated the 2009-10 budget in total secrecy. The budget that raised taxes by $8.5 billion and increased spending by $13 billion, did nothing to create new jobs and also helped produce the $9 billion deficit the state faces this year.
“The only thing we have agreed on this year is that state revenues will be $854 million less than projected by the Governor,” Senator Skelos said. “The budget deficit is a direct result of the Democrats’ taxing and spending binge of last year. New York has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and we cannot tax or borrow our way out the red.”
“This year Governor Paterson proposed a budget that still spends too much,” Senator DeFrancisco said. “It increases taxes by more than $2.2 billion and cuts money for economic development in half. The taxpayers will not tolerate another secret budget that breaks the bank and raids their wallets and pocketbooks with new taxes.”
“Senate Republicans are calling for a budget that is negotiated in public, that reduces spending, does not increase taxes, provides real property tax relief and helps businesses create jobs,” Senator Skelos said. “We have a law in place that sets a process to get that done and we should follow it, starting with an agreement on a schedule today.”