Contact: Phil Oliva, (518) 455-3756
For Immediate Release:
Monday, January 30, 2006

State Budget Back on the Clock
Assembly Minority Calls for Real Budget Reforms, Starts "Countdown Clock"

Assembly Minority Leader James N. Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady, Saratoga) and his Assembly Minority colleagues today began to count the days, hours and minutes to the April 1st state budget deadline by unveiling a digital clock and a new package of budget reforms designed to ensure an on-time budget again - not just this year, but every year.

"The state budget is the most important measure that legislators act on each year," said Tedisco. "Education, public safety and economic development programs depend on adequate and timely funding. When the budget is late, we hear first hand from school boards, nonprofits, local governments and businesses about the damage it causes, about their inability to plan."

Last year, the use of the key components of the Assembly Minority budget reform package helped ensure that all parties came together in a public manner to meet the April 1st deadline.

"We want to make sure last year wasn't a fluke," added Tedisco. "Just because we had one on-time budget in twenty years doesn't mean the problem is solved. Halftime is over and now we must do what is needed to beat the clock because New Yorkers can't afford overtime."

"Passing an on-time budget should be at the top of every legislator's accountability agenda," said Assemblyman Jim Hayes (R-Amherst) ranking Minority member on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. "The reform measures we propose today will help guarantee a process that delivers an on-time budget for the second year in a row."

"New York State's public schools need an efficient and effective state partner," said David Little, Director of Governmental Relations for the New York State School Boards Association. "Many of the reforms proposed by the Assembly Minority would provide the clarity and predictability that is vital to our state's effort to provide the kind of education that will lead to a bright future for our state. The New York State School Boards Association represents the interests of not only students, but the communities that support them. Those local taxpayers deserve the reforms proposed by the Assembly Minority today."

By enacting this strong budget reform plan, Assembly Minority members seek to ensure that there are preliminary deadlines throughout the process and clear consequences for failing to meet them.

Public outcry and two decades of statewide frustration provided enough pressure to get the job done last year. But clearly those variables cannot be considered lasting reforms. The Assembly Minority plan would ensure that late state budgets are a part of the past - permanently.

Components of the plan:

  • State Comptroller intervention with a binding revenue estimate if a consensus is not reached by March 10th.

  • Budget Conference Committees convened by March 15th.

  • Increase the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund.

  • Provide a plain-language summary of the budget 48 hours prior to a vote.

  • If a new budget is not yet in place, enact the previous year's budget no later than 72 hours after the start of a new fiscal year.

  • Prohibit consideration of non-budget bills after April 1st until the budget is adopted.

  • Require two-year education funding.

  • Prohibit any legislative recess until a late budget is approved.

New York State Assembly
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