Assemblymembers Galef, Paulin and Latimer Introduce Legislation Prohibiting Member Items in the 2010-2011 Budget

Bill Estimates Savings at $140-200 Million
December 3, 2009

From left, New York State Assemblyman George Latimer, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Business Council of Westchester's VP of Government and Community Outreach Paul Vitale and President & CEO Dr. Marsha Gordon, and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef review their bill to remove member items from the state budget.

New York State Assembly Members Sandy Galef, Amy Paulin and George Latimer announced the introduction of their legislation which prohibits member items in the 2010-11 New York State Budget. Their announcement came at a press conference today at the headquarters for The Business Council of Westchester in White Plains. This proposal will save the state between $140 and $200 million. The three state legislators have heard from constituents on the need to implement cost-savings at the state level and have decided to take this important action.

The recent passage of the Deficit Reduction Plan included a twelve and a half percent cut in member items for the 2009-10 state budget. This new bill would go even further to eliminate member items entirely for the next fiscal year.

“I am happy that my colleagues are joining together to oppose discretionary spending as we deal with the unprecedented revenue deficit. Eliminating member items for the next state fiscal year shows that we can make the difficult yet necessary decisions to benefit New York’s future,” stated Assemblywoman Galef. “It is necessary for the legislature to lead again as families around New York State have cut back on purchases that are not vital for the well-being of their families. It is time for New York to take that same approach and lead by example. Sacrifice is needed for New York to come out of the recession and sustain a strong foundation for its future.”

Assemblywoman Paulin said, "We must act now to address New York State's growing budget deficit. Even if we can't pass this legislation, I will be rejecting member items next year. While I recognize the positive aspects of this funding we are in the midst of an unprecedented fiscal crisis and can no longer afford business as usual."

Assemblyman Latimer said, "Difficult times require difficult measures; it is clear that our focus must first be on funding essential state programs with our reduced revenues. Discretionary spending – however merited – must be eliminated in years of such great economic crisis."

“The Business Council of Westchester commends Assembly Members Sandy Galef, Amy Paulin and George Latimer for their sponsorship of legislation to prohibit member items in next year’s budget,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester, the county’s largest business organization. “Given the current financial crisis the state faces, this is an excellent example of leadership by example.”