In light of the Budget Reform package the state Legislature passed today, Assemblyman Kolb (R,C,I –Canandaigua) issued the following statement:
“Always at the forefront of reform, the Assembly minority conference has long advocated changes like these. It is disheartening that we were excluded from negotiations and denied credit where it is due. We teach our children that this is called plagiarism. The budget reforms we voted on today came from changes my conference and I have been advocating for several years, however, the problem I have is that this package was agreed upon by three men in a room.
“Transparency and accountability involve more than just the governor, Senate Majority Leader and Assembly Speaker. Until legislative negotiations involve leadership from the minority conferences of each house, we just have a continuation of the status quo that Spitzer promised to end.
“The good news is that the reforms we passed today instill accountability practices that I have been advocating for several years. I am particularly pleased that we are going to prohibit the use of lump sum appropriations and instead provide full disclosure of member items.”
Kolb noted further measures passed today are meant to ensure an on-time budget. Among these agreements are: establishing a timetable for conference committees and other deadlines necessary to ensure a timely budget; and using binding revenue estimates from the State Comptroller if a revenue consensus cannot be achieved between the Legislature and governor.
In the spirit of increasing legislative accountability, Kolb and his conference will advocate they be included in future negotiations and push for additional reforms.