With the 2010 New York State Legislative Session underway, New York State Senator Frank Padavan (Queens) today unveiled his “Blueprint For A Stronger NY” plan that would reform New York State Government and instill much-needed fiscal responsibly, accountability and transparency.
“My ‘Blueprint for A Stronger NY’ would break the secretive and dysfunctional culture that sadly exists in Albany,” Padavan said. “New Yorkers from all political persuasions and walks of life are deeply concerned with the direction of the state. This plan would take the necessary steps to put New York back on the right track- a track that restores common sense through accountability and transparency.”
Padavan, a long-time strong advocate of government reform, has been at the forefront of numerous efforts to change the State Legislature. Padavan was the co-chair of the Senate Task Force on Government Reform in 2004. Many of the proposals advanced by the taskforce eventually were adopted with bipartisan support including budget reform and Medicaid reform measures.
Padavan’s plan calls the creation of a constitutional spending cap that would limit state spending to the Consumer Price Index or 4 percent on a year to year basis. Additional initiatives to restore fiscal responsibility and help protect taxpayers in New York State include:
• Establishment of an Independent Budget Office to help provide an ongoing and nonpartisan view of the state financial situation;
• Require a two-thirds super-majority for any tax increases considered by the State Legislature;
• Ban on unfunded mandates placed on local governments;
• Aggressively combat waste, fraud and abuse at all levels of state government including increased efforts in relation to Medicaid fraud enforcement.
“Challenging fiscal times calls for action that makes sense. It demands everyone be strong protectors of the taxpayer,” Padavan said. “Unfortunately, last year Governor Paterson and the Legislative Majorities decided to push aside years of reform and construct a fiscally reckless and irresponsible budget that has put the state’s economy in a protracted downturn with a record spending increase and burdening New York families, seniors and small businesses with $11 billion in new taxes and fees during the worst recession in decades. My plan would help ensure that a repeat of last year’s disastrous budget is avoided in the future.”
The plan also calls for fundamental and comprehensive ethics reform aimed at proactively taking on a culture that lacks transparency and accountability. Padavan’s plan would break the practice of influence peddling by requiring reasonable disclosure requirements for campaign consultants who also engage in lobbying practices. Additional measures aimed at bringing accountability and transparency to state government includes:
• Strengthen and empower voters through the establishment of Initiative and Referendum;
• Institute additional legislative rules reform in order to provide for fairness, equity and bipartisanship in the State Legislature;
• Creation of a website that will allow the public to review the performance of government programs in order to see how taxpayers’ dollars are being spent.
“New Yorkers want a government that is open and fair. They want a government free from partisan wrangling and rancor. Taking on the status quo and reforming the way the State Legislature conducts business has been a priority of mine throughout my time in the Senate and it’s something that will continue in the 2010 Legislative Session. This blueprint will build a stronger foundation for our future- a future that is based on solving problems in straightforward manner and building a recovery and economic growth for generations of New Yorkers,” Padavan said.