Oaks: State Leaders Come to Agreement on State Budget Reform

January 17, 2007

Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R,C-Macedon) applauded state budget reform initiatives proposed yesterday by Governor Spitzer, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, which mirror many of the budget reform initiatives long proposed by the Assembly Minority.

“With these initiatives, I believe we are taking a major step toward establishing a state budget process that will provide on-time budgets through a more open process,” said Oaks. “With these and other reforms discussed, New York’s budget will be easier to understand and more transparent.”

Some of the initiatives in the reform package include:

  • “Quick start” budget discussions will be required each November and quarterly meetings will be held thereafter between the executive and the legislature
  • Expediting the consensus revenue process
  • Authorizing the State Comptroller to resolve disputes over revenue
  • Plain language impact statements being prepared on a range of program areas, including local governments
  • The legislature resolving budget bill disagreements by prompt referral to joint conference committee
  • The legislature being statutorily required to enact a balanced budget
  • The legislature being required to explain fiscal impacts of changes it makes to the governor’s budget bills
  • Itemizing lump sum appropriations, including “member items”
  • Creation of a “rainy day” fund, setting aside three percent of the General Fund in reserve, which will be added on top of the current two percent “rainy day” fund for a total of five percent. The new fund can be used in the event of economic downturn or disaster.

“I look forward to working with Governor Spitzer and my legislative colleagues on these and other government reform initiatives during this year’s legislative session.”