After weeks of legislative inaction, the New York State Assembly passed a $2.7 billion deficit reduction plan early Wednesday morning in response to an estimated $3.2 billion mid-year state budget gap. The vote came after weeks of legislative inaction and public jockeying by the legislative majorities and the Governor. As soon as the Governor announced the need for budget cuts, my minority colleagues in the Assembly and I began offering various options to the Assembly majority and the Governor as additional alternatives to reduce state spending and fix the budget gap.
Unfortunately, the legislation voted on proved to be as disappointing as the process leading up to the vote. The deficit reduction plan actually only cuts $600 million of net spending and it consists mostly of short-term solutions. It avoids mid-year school budget cuts but it accomplishes it by using $391 million of federal stimulus dollars that originally were scheduled to be available to school districts during the 2010-11 school years.
This deficit reduction plan did not do enough to cut state spending, which was needed to not only reduce this year's budget gap but also lessen our budget problems in future years; therefore, I was forced to vote against the negotiated deficit reduction plan.