Leader Brian Kolb: “Governor Paterson And The Majorities Have Not Delivered On Their Promise Of An Open State Budget Process – We Need True Transparency, Not More Window Dressing”
“At our public Legislative Leaders’ meeting this morning, I asked Governor Paterson why he had not provided important budgetary information to the Minority Conferences, as was promised, and why the Majorities in both houses have still not convened the Joint Conference Committee as state law requires. Since he seemed to have forgotten, I reminded the Governor that our Assembly Minority Conference already had provided to him, and the other Conferences, a detailed list of ideas to achieve billions in budgetary savings over three months ago.
For all his talk of transparency, yesterday, the Governor chose to meet behind closed doors with the Assembly and Senate Majorities and exclude the Minorities from the conversation. This type of secrecy produced last year’s bad budget that set the stage for the tough decisions New York now faces. I told the Governor that taxpayers are tired of a broken process and broken promises that have amounted to little more than window dressing at a time when New York’s spending plan is now 70 days past due.
As I have been saying throughout this process, the state budget should not be done on a piecemeal basis: it should be presented in its entirety, with a detailed financial and revenue plan. If the Governor and Majorities are going to put forth a spending plan, they must define how it is paid for. So far, they have not done so. This is not the way budgets are constructed by families or businesses. In the real world, people know what their expenditures and revenues are. We need a comprehensive budget plan that clearly lists revenues and expenditures, done at one time, in an open, public process that follows the Budget Reform Act of 2007. Doing so will ensure a complete spending plan is finally brought to the floor for an up or down vote.”