Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I-Greenwood Lake) commented today on the state budget agreement, citing that with three days before the April 1 deadline a Message of Necessity from the governor is not needed in order to pass an on-time budget.
The New York State Constitution requires that lawmakers have the opportunity to read and consider legislation for at least three days before voting on its final passage. However, at the request of the Assembly Speaker or Senate Majority Leader, the governor can issue a “Message of Necessity” to bypass this process and immediately bring legislation up for a vote.
Many good government groups have proposed eliminating this power to ensure lawmakers, and the public, have the constitutional right to review legislation, including the New York Public Interest Research Group and the Brennan Center for Justice who reported that from 1997 to 2001, a message of necessity was requested and obtained on roughly 26.9 percent of the major legislation that was passed. To meet the state’s April 1 budget deadline, messages of necessity have been commonly used during budget negotiations; even in instances, including last year, when the lawmakers had missed the deadline.
“Of course I want to pass the budget on time; but what I want, and what the people of the 97th District need, is a budget that truly benefits them. A Message of Necessity only further bypasses the process and does not allow lawmakers or New Yorkers time to carefully read and review the budget proposals,” said the assemblywoman. “We are yet to see any specifics; no bills have been drafted or printed and, as we have seen year in and year out, the devil is always in the details.”
Assemblywoman Rabbitt has declined to take a firm position on the budget agreement, reached over the weekend between the “three men in a room,” until she can see and review the specific details. She said, “I was very pleased that the governor came out of the gate so strongly on the budget and has been a real leader in trying to get his budget passed. But we need to have the input from the rank-and-file lawmakers, who not only represent the people of this state but bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and talent with them to the State Capitol.”
Assemblywoman Rabbitt also commented on the need to “walk the walk” on tax relief throughout the whole year, stating, “It’s a great sound-bite to say ‘this budget has no taxes,’ but we need to hold the line throughout the entire year when it comes to spending, taxes, fee hikes and other assessments that drive up costs for New Yorkers – this includes rescinding the MTA payroll tax as well.”