“Monday evening I joined my Assembly colleagues in a budget-related meeting with Governor David Paterson,” said Assemblyman Michael A. Montesano (R,I,C-Glen Head). “Our conversation was cordial and covered a range of topics. My preference in the future would be for such encounters to occur in the full light of day, the legislature working with the governor’s office as a partner and co-equal branch of government.
“During our meeting, I reiterated to Governor Paterson my opposition to any state budget which does not address jobs and tax relief.
“In addition, state correctional facilities employ thousands of people. The governor’s budget puts many of these jobs at risk, reducing public safety and threatening some prisons with closure. A better plan to reduce costs and make sure violent criminals stay locked up would be to reduce redundant administrative staff and find more cost-effective housing for superintendents.
“Furthermore, 62 percent of state parks and historic sites face shutdowns or drastic service reductions under the proposed executive budget. Our parks provide an affordable getaway for many working families and contribute to the economic development of the surrounding communities.
“Lastly, I will oppose any reduction in vital school aid to Long Island districts. Without our fair share, property taxes in Nassau County will continue to rise.
“I was glad to relay these important concerns to Governor Paterson, and I will continue to look for a productive and open budget process as New York approaches its April 1 deadline for an on-time spending plan.”