Raia: Gov’s Backroom Budget Clocks Another Year In Albany

Lawmaker criticizes Paterson for lack of transparency in $121 billion legislation
March 17, 2009

Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C-East Northport) today told Governor David Paterson that the clock is ticking on his proposed $121 billion budget. With two weeks remaining till the state budget deadline, the time for transparency and openness in New York’s budget process has arrived, the lawmaker said. Raia helped to unveil the “New York State Budget Countdown” clock for 2009, the digital timer that tracks the day, hours, minutes and seconds to April 1.

Albany’s corrupt culture of “three men in a room” – the monarchical powers granted to the governor, Senate majority leader and the speaker of the Assembly – must come to an end if the government of New York is to close a $13.8 billion deficit as well as overcome the most difficult financial period in over a generation. Paterson canceled a meeting between the majority and minority leaders of both houses of the state Legislature for the second straight week today, further corrupting his pledge to hold open and transparent budget meetings for the 2009-10 Executive Budget as well as decreasing the chance that the bill will be passed before the start of the new fiscal year.

“A closed-door budget process will only serve to keep three million Long Islanders in the dark,” said Raia. “Sunlight is still the best disinfectant – for secrecy, for institutional corruption, for abuse of power. I call on Governor Paterson to hold leaders’ meetings immediately and pressure the Senate and Assembly majorities to reinstate budget conference committees, a key component of their 2007 ethics reform package, and one which I voted to approve. Enough is enough. The people of New York State deserve an on-time budget.”