“Thank you Mr. President. Thank You Senator Skelos and Senator Klein.
And thank you Governor Cuomo.
I would also like to take a moment to thank the staff on both sides of the aisle. Your work over the last few nights and last few months has been invaluable. Thank you for all you do.
About two weeks ago—in the middle of the night, I got up and spoke about the Senate one-house budget resolution. I talked about turning wish lists into reality and the flawed process we were working under.
I talked about my hope that this budget would work better and that the final product would do more for everyday New Yorkers.
And as with every budget, there are good parts and there are bad parts.
There are places where we deal with problems and unfortunately there are places where we ignore problems.
We provide much needed tax relief to thousands of New Yorkers but we could still target it better and ensure that more middle and working class families get the relief they deserve.
We have increased school aid and provided unprecedented money for crucial programs like UPK. But we failed to pass the New York State DREAM Act and open up real opportunities for education and jobs for children who have only known New York as their home.
We are passing the Governor’s Public Trust Act, which helps address the ethics problems that have unfortunately overshadowed the good work that the majority of legislators do. Yet we failed to enact meaningful campaign finance reform, paying lip service to the idea by publicly financing just one race, for just one year, without taking the comprehensive approach our broken campaign system so desperately needs.
And we are not passing other common sense ethics reforms like stripping the pensions of corrupt lawmakers and enacting lower limits on campaign contributions and closing loopholes that allow for outsize donations.
We are providing more money for many of our most vulnerable citizens, like our seniors, yet failed to provide adequate resources and compensation to some of the workers that take care of these populations.
Again there are good things in this budget and there are bad things.
At this time of year, we all pat ourselves on the back for what we accomplished, and talk about the importance of on-time budgets—which I agree are important but let’s not forget we still have a lot of work to do. We still have 3 months of session left.
Let’s continue to help grow businesses, create jobs and ease the tax burden on hardworking families throughout the state while also providing real mandate relief to our local governments.
Let’s ensure we fund our education system fairly.
Let’s stand up for women’s rights and pass the entire 10 point Women’s Equality Agenda.
Let’s pass even stronger ethics reforms and create a real public financing system for campaigns.
Let’s do a real raise in the minimum wage and if we can’t or won’t let’s give our local governments the ability to do it for themselves.
Again let’s remember we still have a lot of work to do!”