Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) today expressed his outrage over the Legislature’s record of 20 years of late state budgets even as it refuses to reform a system characterized by inaction.
"Our state has endured late budgets for far too long," Reilich said. "Excuses are plentiful but the plain, simple fact of the matter is that we need to change how we do business. Our priorities must be changed, and we must adopt meaningful budget reform. This has been a chronic problem in New York, until now."
Reilich applauded members of a joint Senate-Assembly conference committee for finally reaching an agreement on budget reform. The 10-member committee unanimously adopted a plan which incorporates several reform measures Reilich has supported in the past.
"Finally, through compromise between the Senate and Assembly, we have been able to reach an agreement on meaningful reform," Reilich explained. "Simple measures such as requiring an earlier start to the budget process, opening the process up to public scrutiny, and putting the prior year’s budget in place if no new budget has been passed by the deadline, are going to help ensure that New York passes a budget on time. These are included in the new plan."
Among several of the initiatives the joint Senate-Assembly conference committee approved, which will help make late budgets a thing of the past in New York, are:
- Putting the previous year’s budget in place if no agreement has been reached by the statutory deadline.
- Requiring the governor to submit an executive budget by January 15, or February 1 in gubernatorial election years.
- Providing 21 days for the governor to amend the executive budget, rather than the current 30.
- Creating additional reserve funds, beyond the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund (TSRF), for a contingency reserve and ensuing school aid payments. All reserve funds would be subject to strict repayment provisions of TSRF, and all reserve funds would be subject to strict statutory change requirement of TSRF.
- Moving the start of the fiscal year from April 1 to May 1.
- Requiring approval of state aid for schools two years at a time, rather than one.
- Moving health care spending under the Health Care Reform Act to the budget itself.
- Creating an independent budget office to forecast revenues and recommend spending options.
- Providing a three-year financial plan with additional details.
- Additional financial plan reporting for: financial plan cash flow, personnel, technology purchases, journal voucher transactions, and disbursement of lump sums.
- Agency budget requests would be made available to the public at the time of executive budget hearings, and
- Current services budget would be submitted with executive budget.
For more information, contact Assemblyman Bill Reilich at (585) 225-4190.