Contact: Joshua Fitzpatrick, (518) 455-3751
For Immediate Release:
April 9, 2008

Statement from Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco

"The 2008-09 State Budget is by no means perfect - the reality is that no spending plan ever is. However, due to a broken process and a failure to effectively rein in spending, for all there is to commend within this budget, it ultimately misses the mark.

At the very time New York faces the daunting threats of a national economic recession and an underperforming state economy, the Legislature still has not learned to live within its means. This budget spends like there is no tomorrow. But tomorrow will arrive and with it, a very steep price tag.

New York has miles to go before achieving genuine fiscal responsibility. However, had our Conference not been so vocal about holding the line throughout this process, spending and taxes likely would have been much higher. We were successful in defeating a massive, new job elimination tax that would have further eroded our state's economic competitiveness and saddled New Yorkers with more taxes they cannot afford.

While I am critical of this budget's process and spending, I believe we must not forget that a near on-time spending plan was achieved when, just a few short weeks ago, New York saw its former Governor resign office and many wrote off hope of an on-time or even a timely budget. The leadership Governor Paterson has shown throughout this process - and his willingness to start a meaningful, long overdue conversation about controlling spending - has been instrumental toward reaching this goal.

I agree with the Governor - future budgets must be crafted through an open and transparent process. I believe we should not wait until next year's budget to make this a reality. It should characterize the remainder of this legislative session, as openness, transparency and public deliberations on even the most controversial of issues serves as the rule, not the exception.

Real change - the type of change New Yorkers want and our state desperately needs - is not easy. It never is. But, for the sake of New York's fiscal future, going forward we must find the political will to make change a reality. It begins - and ends - with getting spending under control. New Yorkers caught in a crushing 'middle class squeeze' of high taxes, tolls, food and fuel costs were counting on us. This budget, along with the broken process through which it was crafted and passed, let them down."

New York State Assembly
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