Lifton: Assembly’s Reform Plan to End State Budget Gridlock Passes
Legislation restores constitutional balance to budget process
February 16, 2005
Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WF-Tompkins/Cortland) announced that a proposed constitutional amendment and legislation she sponsored to ensure that responsible state budgets are adopted on-time every year passed the Assembly (A.1, A.2). The budget reform plan also includes a second constitutional amendment and legislation to restore the balance of powers in the budget process that was undermined by a recent court decision (A.4630, A.4631). "It’s no secret that the state’s budget-crafting system needs to be improved so it works for each and every New Yorker," Lifton said. "This plan will bring transparency, accountability and efficiency to the process, and above all, will help ensure on-time budgets in the years to come." The budget reform proposal would:
- move the start of New York’s fiscal year from April 1 to May 1 to allow for better revenue and spending projections and institute provisions to instill greater accountability in the process;
- implement a contingency budget as a last resort if no spending plan is passed by May 1;
- require a two-year appropriation for education aid that will help schools stay a step ahead by finally giving them the information they need, when they need it; and
- create a reserve fund in the state constitution to ensure sufficient funds exist for the payment of education aid in May and June of each year.
- require proposed spending to be consistent with existing law or proposed legislation, and when a consistency question arises, a fast-track review process will be triggered;
- allow the Legislature to do more than simply reduce, strike or accept proposals in the governor’s budget that aren’t consistent with state law;
- permit the Legislature to add items of appropriation to the governor’s budget based on proposed legislation introduced by the governor but modified or rejected by the Legislature; and
- require the Legislature to explain the fiscal impact of any legislative additions to the governor’s budget proposal and identify its funding.