Statement by Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos
I agree with Governor Paterson’s statement today that the Legislature should be acting on a deficit reduction plan today, instead of waiting until Monday. The only problem is he has not submitted a bill we can act on, as Senate Republicans called on him to do Thursday.
Senate Republicans unveiled a detailed deficit reduction plan that included spending cuts that even the Governor has acknowledged are real and substantive. Our plan also includes other savings proposed by the Governor that are acceptable to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate that would reduce the budget deficit by $2.6 billion.
Senate Democrats have embraced our plan. Much of Governor Paterson’s deficit-closing measures are included in the plan so I expect he would support it. The only roadblock to an agreement is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver who has yet to publicly issue a single proposal to reduce state spending.
For the past month, no one in Albany has done more than Senate Republicans to push for a solution that would close the $3.2 billion budget deficit. We were the only legislative conference to issue a detailed plan to cut state spending and close the budget gap. We were the first conference to oppose mid-year school aid cuts that would result in property taxes. We were the first legislators to oppose any tax increases to close the deficit.
When Democrats left Albany, Republicans stayed at the Capitol, ready to go into session to pass a plan. The Governor should stop pounding the table, do his job and stop worrying about his poll numbers so that we can get a final agreement. The Assembly has produced nothing more than talk while Senate Republicans have provided leadership and pushed to get a fiscally responsible result that reduces state spending, now and in the future.
Senate Republicans, who called for enactment of a state spending cap as part of a plan to address the state budget deficit, passed a spending cap bill twice last year with bipartisan support and I am pleased the Governor said he would join us and get one in place by year’s end.
Taxpayers are angry over increased spending and taxes and frustrated by the inaction in Albany. We shouldn’t have to wait until Monday to fix a problem that could have been resolved yesterday.