Assemblyman James N. Tedisco (R,I,C-Schenectady/Saratoga) today blasted Governor David Paterson and legislative leaders for calling them into session without a deficit reduction agreement in place for review, debate and vote by rank-and-file members of the Legislature.
“We all know how Albany works, or doesn’t work. Deals are negotiated in secret behind closed doors then presented to the full legislature for a debate and vote. When it comes to the Capitol, the performance is choreographed before it happens and when it’s not, there is no show,” said Tedisco. “Unfortunately, our citizens will have to pay dearly for today’s show. To call session minus an agreement is a slap in the face to already hard-pressed taxpayers. New York taxpayers will now have to add to the growing deficit about $24,000 per hour, assuming we spend three hours of legislative time in the Assembly Chamber, for what fails to be a deficit-reducing session. ”
Tedisco called today’s session mere “window-dressing” since Legislative leaders passed bills that didn’t need to be acted upon just to promote the notion that something productive was accomplished. Tedisco points out that in addition to the injury of a $3 billion state budget gap looming on the horizon, taxpayers are being insulted by being forced to pay $142,000 for what turned out to be a very “ordinary” two-day legislative session in which nothing of importance was accomplished.
“Taxpayers are footing the bill for a political speech by the Governor and a do-nothing extraordinary session,” said Tedisco. “Without action, New York State will be unable to pay several significant bills in December. These include $2.5 billion for STAR property tax relief, $1.6 billion in school aid, $460 million for Aid in Municipalities (AIM), $700 to $800 million for mass transportation, $150 to $250 million for Medicaid and $600 million for various social programs. We cannot afford to wait any longer to address this urgent fiscal matter.”
“What is unfortunate is that this latest waste of taxpayers’ dollars could have been avoided. The Governor knew that there was no agreement on a deficit reduction plan. He could have called off the session until an agreement was reached. The Legislative leaders must now come to the table, craft a real solution and then convene the legislature to approve the measure,” concluded Tedisco.