The New York State Legislature and Governor Paterson missed an opportunity on Tuesday to take a necessary step toward addressing our state’s fiscal crisis. It was embarrassing and frustrating to have no bills presented for action on the floor of the Assembly. A five-way Leader’s meeting yielded more press releases than ideas and no agreements on solutions to our problems.
This is a crisis, which requires immediate, short-term solutions, as well as long-term, systemic change to the way we fund and deliver programs and services in our state.
I joined the Assembly Minority Conference in presenting several ideas to cut spending and balance the budget. I do not believe we should just do across-the-board cuts, which can impact people disproportionately. We need to first review our state agencies and the numerous programs we fund. Then, we need to prioritize our need areas and make thoughtful, informed budget decisions. This will only happen if Governor Paterson decides to step up to provide the necessary leadership.
Unfortunately, during these tough economic times, with all New Yorkers having been impacted by the fiscal crisis, trimming the budget has been riddled with partisan bickering and no concrete results. It is my hope that we can return to Albany in the coming weeks and put party labels and individual egos aside, so that we can work toward a common goal of addressing this crisis.