Governor Paterson’s State of the State message was a reminder of the perilous financial situation that the state continues to be in as we start 2010. For more than a year the Legislature has grappled with the very serious economic challenges that face New York and the urgent need to get state spending under control and help put our economy on track for recovery.
The highest priorities for all New Yorkers in 2010 are jobs, the quality of education for our children, and access to appropriate and affordable health care. As we deliberate about the new budget, we must be careful to mitigate the impact of cuts on essential services that families across this state depend on as well as to address such important issues as a mass transit plan that meets the needs of riders, including providing MTA student passes for NYC school children.
My colleagues and I are committed to working with the Governor, the Senate and leaders and citizens throughout the state over the coming months to meet New York’s fiscal obligations fairly and in a timely manner.
The Governor’s address was also a reminder that we who serve in government must work hard to improve the people’s faith in their government. We in the Assembly have already created a framework for the reform he is seeking. Last year we passed significant ethics reforms and we are now engaged with the Senate in ongoing negotiations on ethics legislation. Our goal is to enact the best, most accountable, independent and transparent ethics oversight structure we can, and we expect to have it in place in the near future.
Although overshadowed by the economy, our work in 2009 produced a number of important victories: reform of the Rockefeller Drug Law; Tier V pension reform; public authorities reform; and Leandra’s Law, to name a few. Working with the Governor and the Senate in 2010, we look forward to tackling the ethics issues and to continuing the state’s progress toward economic recovery.