The 2010-11 State Budget is officially late and right now, there is no public, transparent schedule of how or when it will be completed from the Assembly and Senate Democrat Majorities. It is bad enough that the budget is late – it's even worse that there is no plan from those in power to let the public know when a spending plan will be enacted.
Our fiscal problems actually grew worse last year when Governor Paterson got together in secret with the Assembly and Senate Democrat Majorities and hammered out a State Budget that included $8.2 billion in new taxes and fees, and a nearly 10 percent hike in government spending. This occurred even after Governor Paterson acknowledged New York was facing a severe fiscal crisis.
Fast forward to 2010: Governor Paterson and the two Democrat Majorities have not yet been able to put together a fiscally responsible economic plan and are still talking about spending more money than last year – and borrowing $2 billion along the way.
There has been too much talk and not enough action to ensure that the public knows exactly where everyone stands. I believe it's time for the Legislative Leaders and Governor to meet in a televised public budget forum to be broadcast live statewide so taxpayers can hear and see our specific solutions and challenges to closing New York's $9.05 billion deficit. I believe this hour-long forum should be moderated by members of the media who would ask questions so New Yorkers can learn where the Governor and each Conference stands on taxing, spending and borrowing.
Brian M. Kolb
The author is the Assembly Republican Leader