The state budget is now seven days late, and there appears to be no timetable in place for its passage. I am appalled that we were sent home for the weekend by the Majority without a budget, or without even making progress toward a budget. A late budget delays payments for our state-funded capital improvements projects. This suspension reduces the already brief window available for contractors to make much-needed repairs to our failing transportation infrastructure and puts hundreds of construction workers out of work, further hurting our already beleaguered economy. The lack of a state budget also prevents our schools and local governments from planning properly.
A wise man once said, “You struggle with a decision when you know what the right answer is, but you don’t like it.” We all know what the right answer to our current budget crisis is: we need to drastically cut spending. The Majorities do not like this answer, so they are stalling to try to find new sources of revenue through gimmicks, backdoor borrowing, and new taxes and fees. It is incumbent upon the Majorities to adhere to the requirements of the Budget Reform Act of 2007 and convene conference budget committees immediately. The governor also should call a leaders’ meeting so the public can see how their leaders are working to solve the 2010-2011 budget problem.
The Minority Assembly Conference has submitted proposals to the governor and all Legislative leaders detailing our recommendations for closing the budget deficit. We are available 24/7 to work constructively with both Majorities until this crisis is resolved and New York has the responsible budget it deserves and needs.