Galef and Paulin Call For No Member Items in 2012-13 New York State Budget

February 16, 2012
Assemblymembers Sandy Galef and Amy Paulin are renewing their call for no member item spending in the 2012-2013 New York State Budget. By continuing to exclude expenditures for member items, the state will maintain its savings of about $200 million in this year’s budget, as it has for the past two budget years.

In March 2011, Galef and Paulin introduced legislation (A.6215A) calling for no member item spending in last fiscal year’s budget and encouraged their colleagues to support this budgetary policy. This legislation has been amended to support the prohibition of member items in the 2012-13 budget.

Member items include state funding allocated by individual Assembly and Senate members to specific groups or initiatives in the recipient members’ districts. At a time when so many state-funded programs and services continue to receive lower levels of state funding than in years past, Galef and Paulin believe that arbitrary individual projects that lack proper oversight should not be encouraged.

“Throughout New York, people are making tough decisions on how they can eliminate discretionary spending from their own personal budgets. With a $2 billion state budget deficit this year that we are working to close, we cannot afford to have discretionary spending in our budget,” Assemblywoman Galef said. “We must work to keep our state budget lower and prohibiting member items is an important step in that direction.”

“The economy is still adversely affecting many people right here in Westchester and New York State is grappling with a $2 billion deficit," stated Assemblywoman Paulin. "Under these circumstances, we are unable to provide increases to our schools and hospitals. I have therefore decided, once again, to support the elimination of member items from this year’s budget.”

At this time, Governor Cuomo has not included any member items in his proposed budget. Assemblymembers Galef and Paulin urge him to reject requests to include this discretionary spending in any budget amendments.