When looking at the State of New York over the past 19 years, there is definitely one thing that is common over that period of time. That would have to be New York State’s late budget. For the 19th time, over the past same amount of years, New York State has had a budget that wasn’t on time. This has come to be a major problem over the years, and now the New York State Assembly Republicans’ have come up with supposed solution to the problem; This is the NYFirst set of reforms for better government, and one of them being Budget Reform. Budget Reform is a very political issue on both sides of the aisle, with one side caring more about other issues concerning the budget like trying to better it from the Governor’s proposal (The Democrats), than that of it being on time. The governor can play a big role as well.
Both sides and their different points of views will be looked at regarding NYFirst’s Budget Reform package, and therefore, both of their thoughts are going to be different about what to do, and what to worry about in the long run for the State of New York. The Assembly Republicans in New York have a very sound view when it comes to the budget in this state, and that is basically that it should be on time every time. The proposed Republican plan for budget reform is all shown in the Assembly Bill #1258 which was introduced in 2003 (Assembly Bill#1258). The bill was introduced by Minority Leader Charlie Nesbitt, and all other 46 Republican members, is one which calls for change, and for the betterment of the entire process.
This bill is a new bill, and has never been introduced in the Assembly yet. This NYFirst: Budget Reform package has seven reforms it wants to see happen. It calls for 1) Revenue forecasts by March 1st from all four legislative fiscal committees and the State Comptroller, 2) A binding forecast by March 10th will be imposed by the Comptroller if no agreement, 3) Conference committees by March 15th to discuss the budget publicly, 4) A Default budget if still not passed within 72 hours; the previous years budget goes into effect, 5) No non-budget bills after April 1st if not passed already, 6) Fiscal stability, and 7) Plain language summary of the hard to read budget (GOPoints April 1st). All of these reforms are set out to make the state run better, and more efficient.
The Assembly Republican minority truly thinks that these reforms would solve the late budget process, and finally stop all of the troubles late budgets do to the state as a whole. The Republicans’ say a late budget has a great dismal effect on New York, and its people. Three examples that could be used for this would be how it effects school districts, not-for-profit organizations, and local governments (Late Budgets and…3). These examples are ones, which present great evidence as to why the budget process should be passed on time.
“Businesses can’t expand and invest in new jobs and schools are forced to ‘guess-timate’ how much money they have for programs,” as stated by Charlie Nesbitt when talking about the impact of a late budget (Legislative Gazette 5). In a forum conducted by the Republican Assembly Minority Committee last year, numerous people from the for mentioned examples above were present to voice their opinion about the late budget. In one forum from Western New York, Robert W. Smith, Superintendent of Elba Central School District, stated that, “Last year’s extremely late budget made it impossible for Elba Central School District to accurately predict revenue or to set tax rates. The result was a tax rate too low to meet needs….” (Late Budgets…2).
These statements along with others were all in favor of this Republican Assembly reform package. Another example that could be used as an example of how a late budget can effect in a negative way would be from a forum in Albany, by Marvin LeRoy, Jr., Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York. He said that, “In my personal experience as an individual running non-profit organizations for almost two decades, I have spent my entire career living with the consequences of unpredictable and uncertain state budget funding streams” (Late Budgets…6). These two examples are just a couple of the many horrible consequences of having a late budget; the Republicans think that it has to change. The groups mentioned are truly effected by the late budget process, and would be benefited by having an on time budget, by far. The NYFirst: Budget Reform package is one of enormous importance to the Republican Party in the Assembly.
It is the first of its kind in this particular branch of government in New York. “It is astonishing to hear that the Assembly has passed over 3,100 mostly “one-house” bills (with no possibility of ever becoming law as they are not sent to the Senate for their review) in the absence of an enacted state budget,” said Assemblywoman Sandra Lee Wirth (News from Sandra…2). She basically stated that all of it is “senseless, wasteful, and counterproductive” without even making the budget on time (Sandra Lee Wirth). This package of reforms is something that Assembly Republicans’ want, but is under scrutiny because of party affiliation. It is said that the Assembly is ‘the people’s house’, but only under the Speaker’s approval of bills. The concept of ‘people’s house’ is no longer valid if you think of it that way.
(Capital News…1). It basically says that people don’t get their fair say in government. Even though this legislation is the first of its kind in the Assembly, it isn’t in the State Senate. Senate Republicans have in the past years approved similar plans about budget reform while Assembly Republicans are criticizing Assembly Democrats for not introducing a plan sooner (Legislative Gazette 5).
It is unfortunate that the so- called “people’s house” can’t be less partisan, and be more for doing the right thing, which would be beneficial in the long run for the people, and state of New York. The Republican plan is one in which has good ideas and intentions, but overall, its up to the Democratic Majority to decide if it goes through or not. “I think they think it’s a joke,” said Fairbanks Schools Superintendent, “How do you go 19 years in a row? Either the legislators believe it (the deadline) is a useless, no-harm provision that hurts on one or they are just completely irresponsible” (Daily Freeman April 2). This statement is yet another critic of the late budget process, and it just pushes the NYFirst: Budget Reform package up in public opinion as the right thing to do for the state.
It can be said that the Assembly Republicans truly want this package of reforms for the right reasons, and the Assembly Democrats are ones that are the only thing to stand in its way. Now the points of view changes regarding the NYFirst: Budget Reform package. The Democratic majority has a more laid-back feel when it comes to an on time budget. No one in their right mind would disagree with the notion of having a state budget on time as being a terrible thing, but just having certain priorities come first.
Democrats in the State Assembly feel that a “late is better than never policy” feel about an on time budget, and that a “great late budget is better than an on time budget that isn’t good at all” (Daily Freeman April 2). By having this certain philosophy that the budget being late is the least of their worries, the Democrats worry more so about trying to balance the budget and fight more towards making sure certain aspects of the budget for the upcoming year fund adequately for different parts they want. Rather than worry about having an on time budget, Democrats are trying to make a budget that more so upholds education and healthcare funding, and undermines the Governor’s proposed budget. “Nearly every aid category specifically targeted to high need children, or designed to help students increase their achievements has been wiped out.
That is the educational future that this budget envisions, and that is the wrong choice that this Governor makes” (Statistical and Narrative Summary…1). This statement is one key aspect of what the Democrats worry about when the budget is presented each and every year. Assembly Democrats don’t worry as much about making an on time budget, as they do about making a budget that addresses all their needs for certain aspects included in it. The Democrats have a majority of 103 to 47 in the Assembly, so if they want to discuss issues that matter to them more so than passing a budget that they overall don’t agree with, they can do as they please. With looking upon the NYFirst: Budget Reform package from the Democrats point of view, you can truly see that they don’t care so much as to how long it takes, but how much they can restore from the Governor’s original slashing proposal. “We may choose to go our separate ways,” said Speaker Silver about the Governor’s proposed budget.
It can be said that the Democrats would restore many of the education and health cuts sought by the Governor (NY Daily News April 8). These are the main concerns from the Democrats when it comes to the budget, so the NYFirst: Budget Reform is the least of their concerns. The only thing that matters to them is that they have the majority, and with having that they can take as much time as they want to debate. Both sides of the aisle take different views when looking upon the NYFirst: Budget Reform package.
Both sides also were looked at individually from each perspective as well. The Republicans know that this set of reforms is a great idea. The Democrats recognize the budget reform package as being a good idea, but they don’t like the power it would drain from them (their majority “do what they want” rule), and they’d rather make a budget that fits their needs later, than one that doesn’t on time. Both sides of the aisle would have to realize though the impact the governor could cause if he decides to use his “short-term emergency spending bills,” which he produces. With that said it left most lawmakers saying it would be better for the Legislature to do its own budget rather than agree to the Governor’s proposals (Times Union April 9).
“If we use the governor’s budget and cut staff and increase class sizes and cut programs-and then later, the Legislature modifies the budget, we’re stuck,” said Fairport board member Kenneth Harris (Ithaca Journal April 1). From this example you can see how an on time budget could help out, and would also give more time for the entire New York Legislature to work out the budgets with the governor before the deadline. By far, the NYFirst: Budget Reform package would be a good choice for Assembly lawmakers. This highly publicized set of reforms is one which would make it so that a late budget never happens again, and therefore, the governor doesn’t have to use his supposed “short term emergency spending bills” in the future. Bill #A1258 would solve the problem of a late budget on behalf of the Assembly though.