As my legislative colleagues and I return to Albany for the Governor’s much anticipated, albeit early, 2009-10 Executive Budget presentation, I would like to remind the Governor that we must first address the current fiscal problems facing our state. Fiscal year 2008-09 is far from over and every day that we delay finding a solution, the problems will only get worse.
While many in the media have dubbed the Governor as the “Accidental Governor,” the fiscal problems facing our state right now are hardly accidental, nor new news. For years, the entire state government, Legislature included, have failed the people of our state by over-spending and passing bloated budgets that catered too much in favor of special interests. All the while, the burden has mounded up on top of New York State’s over-burdened taxpayers.
As a taxpayer myself, this is one of the reasons I originally sought to be elected to the State Assembly, and during my first term, I advocated for reduced spending, more fiscal responsibility and I have held the line against bloated budgets and special interests. Not only with my advocacy, but with my votes as well.
Although we will not be voting on any budgetary proposals today, I hope that my colleagues in both houses will join me in urging the Governor to take seriously the need to make cuts in the 2008-09 fiscal year. While, of course, we would prefer not to have to cut any programs, the urgency of this fiscal crisis will force us to do so. The Legislature can start by cutting bureaucracy, reducing the redundancy in state government, combining departments and eliminating member items and all pork barrel spending. Then we can finally get serious about the estimated $5 billion in Medicaid fraud, waste and abuse.
Unfortunately, the state’s economic situation is not getting better and revenues are not keeping pace. Raising taxes is not the solution nor is cutting everything across the board, especially healthcare and schools. We knew this in March and now the reality is upon us. My call to the Governor and my colleagues is let’s do two things today – let’s roll up our sleeves and balance the 2008-09 budget and then start planning for 2009-10.