Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb Calls For “Extreme Makeover” Of New York’s Government To Address Late State Budget, Continued Lack Of Transparency And Accountability To Taxpayers

Kolb pushes for statewide, public budget forum between Governor Paterson and Legislative Leaders so taxpayers can learn where everyone stands on critical issues of taxing, spending and borrowing
April 2, 2010

The late 2010-11 State Budget is the most recent, glaring example of why New York’s government is in need of an “extreme makeover,” according to Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) who today called for Governor Paterson and the Legislative Leaders to meet in a public budget forum to be broadcast and televised live, statewide next week.

Kolb said the public budget forum would allow New Yorkers to learn exactly where the Governor and each Legislative Conference stands on taxing, spending and borrowing and outline their specific plans for closing New York’s $9.05 billion budget deficit. Kolb suggested one of Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour news channels such as Your News Now (YNN) or NY1 News, along with public television and radio stations, as possible hosts of the hour-long budget forum, in addition to it being streamed live via the Internet.

“As bad as the late State Budget is, even more frustrating for taxpayers is the fact that there is still no public, transparent schedule of how – or when – it will be completed from the Assembly and Senate Majorities. That is simply unacceptable and shows why our broken state government needs an ‘extreme makeover’ that will correct these problems and build a strong foundation of true transparency and accountability to taxpayers,” Kolb said.

“Last year’s State budget was put together using a closed door, secretive process that excluded the Minority Conferences and rank-and-file Members. The spending plan it produced was fiscally irresponsible, contained $8.2 billion in new taxes and fees, and exploded the budget deficit. This year, the Governor and legislative Majorities followed that same bad game plan and shut out taxpayers from what should be a completely open, transparent and accountable budget process,” Kolb stated.

“There has been too much talk and not enough action to ensure taxpayers know exactly where everyone stands. I believe it’s time everyone put their cards on the table. Legislative Leaders and the Governor need to meet in a public budget forum to be broadcast and televised live, statewide, so taxpayers can hear and see our specific solutions and challenges to closing New York’s $9.05 billion budget deficit. New Yorkers deserve answers from Albany and this public budget forum I am proposing would help provide them,” Kolb concluded.