With just two weeks until the April 1st budget deadline, Democrats in the Senate and Assembly have failed to make any progress toward a new budget. Senate Democrats have talked about starting the conference committee process, but have done nothing. Neither they, nor the Democrats in the Assembly, have produced any budget bills or resolutions for consideration.
Governor Paterson did his job when he introduced an Executive Budget. Ten days later, Democrats should have followed the 2007 budget reform law by introducing budget plans and setting a schedule for conference committees. However, they have failed to do so.
We must begin a public budget negotiating process, immediately, to get a budget in place. Senate Republicans have made our budget priorities very clear, starting with no new taxes and fees and real property tax relief.
Some Senate Democrats have said they oppose new taxes, like the tax on soda and other sugared beverages. Those same Democrats voted last year to raise the cost of bottled water by a nickel, increase taxes by $8.5 billion and place a $1.5 billion payroll tax on downstate businesses. In addition, they voted to take away STAR property tax rebate checks. Any one of them could have stopped those tax hikes by voting no.
After seeing the Democrats break their promises last year, taxpayers know that talk is cheap. They want to see action toward a state budget that does not increase spending and taxes, helps create new private sector jobs and provides real property tax relief. Time is running short, we need action now.