With the New Year upon us, I would like to welcome our newly-elected Governor Eliot Spitzer and his staff to Albany. We happen to be from different political parties, but we share a common goal: creating a more ethical and functional state government.
Before taking his new office, Spitzer announced a number of government reform initiatives he intends to sign into law by way of voluntary action or Executive Order. I believe these initiatives becoming law would help change the general perception New Yorkers have that our state government is highly dysfunctional. Their implementation would be a large step toward achieving our goal of reforming New York’s government.
One initiative proposed by the governor is fixing the “broken budget process” by bringing both houses of the Legislature into the budget making process as early as possible, and sharing with them as much information about expected revenues and plans for spending. Starting earlier will facilitate a smoother and more efficient budget process, enabling us to enact an on-time budget.
Spitzer proposed a number of initiatives restoring nonpartisanship such as ending the practice of having individuals change their party affiliation to meet the requirements for an appointment.
Reforms instituting accountability were also included, such as appointing a first-rate Inspector General and giving its office the necessary resources to investigate corruption, fraud and waste in the Executive Branch of government. Spitzer also proposed having an open-door policy for all members of the Legislature, giving legislators the opportunity to discuss the concerns of their local constituencies with the Governor and his office.
My colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference and I have advocated government reform measures for many years. I am pleased to see our new governor has made this important issue one of his top priorities.
These measures, I believe, will help restore some ethics and order to our broken state government. I look forward to seeing these initiatives signed into law and to working with Governor Spitzer in the coming year.