Albany Update – Addressing the Budget and Needed Reforms

December 8, 2009

As you may know, I have spent the last several weeks in Albany deliberating over how to best addresses the fallout of this recession, and the impact it has had on the state’s finances and families across New York. I want to take a moment to update you on the enormous progress my colleagues and I made on a number of important issues in our communities.

In the last week, the Legislature passed several fundamental reforms that will produce real, recurring and significant savings for New Yorkers. The new PACE loan programs, as a companion to our Green Jobs program, will help households and businesses lower energy costs across the board.

Our dramatic actions to reform public authorities, and the creation of a new Tier V in our public pension system will not only save state and local governments money right away, but literally billions of dollars in the years ahead. Comptroller DiNapoli sounded the alarm that we must address our long term fiscal obligations. By taking on our authorities and pension system, we answered that call.

The stated purpose of this Extraordinary Legislative Session was to deal with our looming budget crisis by enacting a deficit reduction plan. After long weeks of discussions and deliberations, my colleagues and I agreed on a plan to address our state’s budget shortfall. In the face of such a daunting economic climate, tough choices needed to be made. Throughout the negotiation process, I maintained my commitment to fight for New York’s most vulnerable residents.

My top priorities were protecting vital public services and ensuring our children continued access to a quality education. As our educators, school boards and administrators demanded, there are no mid-year cuts to education or new taxes in our plan. We also protected federal matching dollars for New Yorkers’ health care.

Every state in our nation is struggling. New York is weathering this crisis by taking timely and decisive action to address our fiscal concerns. We have been able to avoid drastic cuts such as furloughs, the elimination of pre-kindergarten classes and issuance of IOUs that we have seen in other states.

Of course, some sacrifices had to be made. But, by avoiding cuts that disproportionately affect one segment of the population, I believe we passed a responsible plan. Our fight is not over. We will remain vigilant in our efforts to renew New York’s economy, maintain the state’s fiscal stability and protect the many families struggling to make ends meet.

To read more about the measures advanced by the Legislature in the Extraordinary Session click on the links below:

Pension Reform/Tier V

Foreclosure Protections

New License Plates Repeal

Authorities Reform

Energy Loan Program