Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (D-Suffern), along with 26 other Assembly members participated in an impromptu sit-in at the Governor’s office late Wednesday afternoon. New York State has been without a budget since April 1st and the Assembly members joined together out of frustration with the stalled process, and went to the Red Room demanding a meeting with the Governor. After wrangling with the Governor’s staff, the Governor agreed to meet with the members.
“The Governor needs to move forward bringing leadership together to begin serious negotiations,” stated Assemblywoman Jaffee. “He is the Executive of our State and he needs to build mutual support for a responsible budget that will get government back on track.” Assembly members are frustrated by the apparent lack of willingness on the Governor’s part to sit down and negotiate. Members explained to the Governor their understanding of the fiscal challenge the state faced and their willingness to seek consensus as the process moved forward.
Going into the meeting, it was apparent that frustration was high on both sides after weeks of stalled budget negotiations. The meeting provided the opportunity for the members to express their opinions and concerns; a major point was that the Governor needed to take a stronger leadership role in the budget process. Moving forward the Governor advised the members that he will try to work with leadership of both houses more closely and will come to address the Majority Assembly Conference. The Governor and the Assembly members were glad to walk out of the meeting with a sense that things will hopefully move forward.
Assemblywoman Jaffee finished by saying, "The Governor must stop pointing fingers and blaming others for stalling the budget process and get to work. Together we must move forward, allowing dialogue and real negotiations to take place so we can get a budget passed now."