Budget Deadline Looming, Distractions Abound

Legislative Column from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R,C,I- New Hartford)
March 11, 2011
With the state budget deadline only a few short weeks away, it seems that the governor and legislative leaders have lost track of what is important. While every day more and more citizens storm the capitol in protest of proposed cuts, the governor and legislative leaders have not moved forward with budget negotiations.

I have personally been meeting with constituents and groups from throughout Oneida and Oswego counties to discuss their budget concerns. Taxes, school funding and local aid top the list of priorities for our counties, and, while I understand serious cuts will have to be made this year, I am working to ensure we get our fair share.

This state is treading water at an attempt at fiscal solvency and real decisions need to be made to provide for a quality New York in the future. I only wish that others, including the governor and speaker of the assembly, shared the same ambition for an on-time budget.

New Yorker’s deserve an on-time budget. This budget is vitally important because it needs to provide for stability while promoting economic growth in the state. Fiscal matters, at this point, should be at the forefront of every legislator’s mind. The budget provides for a continuance of funding for important programs throughout the state, but with so many legislators and the governor off message, it’s a wonder how that will happen by April 1, 2011.

Furthermore, it is imperative that this year’s budget includes long-term and meaningful solutions for long-standing problems. Instead of passing “Band-aid” solutions, we must ensure this year’s budget includes the recommendations proposed by the governor’s various new commissions, such as the Mandate Relief and Redesign Team.

We have seen over and over what a late budget does to this state. With emergency spending measures passing just to keep the state afloat last year, it is imperative that we remain focused on our goals. The goal this year should be to take a serious look at the spending and responsibilities of the state. Legislators want to sit and discuss the budget to show what work is being done in Albany to improve New York.

It is important that, as legislators and the voice of the people we are elected to represent, we keep negotiations moving for an on-time budget. As always, I encourage constituents to reach out to me. Please feel free to contact me at tenneyc@assembly.state.ny.us, my district office at (315) 853-2583, or my Albany office at (518) 455-5334.