Time For Gubernatorial, Legislative Late Budget Penalty

Assemblymen call upon Governor to implement “Budget Neglect Penalty”
May 5, 2010
Assemblymen James Tedisco (R,C,I-Schenectady-Saratoga), George Amedore (R,C-Rotterdam) and Pete Lopez (R,C,I-Schoharie) today called upon the Governor to take punitive measures against elected officials who are the real agents of delay behind the state’s late budget. The assemblymen are asking the Governor to include language in his next budget extender that would penalize himself and all 212 legislators for failing to enact a timely budget.

The proposal, dubbed the “Budget Neglect Penalty,” is meant to compel legislators and the Governor to pass a budget. The Budget Neglect Penalty will require the Governor and legislators to pay $100 each week the budget is late. The funds collected would be placed in a dedicated State Park Fund. Reacting to the Governor’s plan to furlough state employees, the lawmakers noted that the Governor and legislators are the real state workers who should be held accountable for the late budget. They said that they were confident that this proposal would not be seen as unconstitutional as it assesses a penalty and does not adjust legislative salaries mid-session.

“This penalty places responsibility for the now almost-five-week-late budget where it truly belongs, upon the Governor and legislators,” Assemblyman Tedisco said. “Let’s focus on the New Yorkers that have the ability to actually develop and pass a budget and stop picking on our schools, local governments, small businesses, working families and the construction industry. Any budget extender bill must include a ‘Budget Neglect Penalty’.”

“By forcing legislators to pay a fine for their indecisiveness, they will feel the pain, not our businesses,” said Assemblyman Amedore. “Deferring paychecks of legislators is only temporary – it’s retroactive. Legislators only want to pass the buck, not solve the deep problems this state is facing. By making legislators feel the squeeze that everyone else is feeling, we can hold them accountable for their own actions.”

“Many of us have been looking for a way to move legislative leaders and the legislature as a whole to do their job and pass the budget. If holding their paycheck is not enough to move them, let's see what a $100 a week fine does to progress this necessary process,” said Assemblyman Pete Lopez.