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NYFirst: Budget Reform Legislation

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When looking at the State of New York over the past 19 years, thereis definitely one thing that is common over that period of time. Thatwould have to be New York State’s late budget. For the 19th time, over thepast same amount of years, New York State has had a budget that wasn’t ontime. This has come to be a major problem over the years, and now the NewYork State Assembly Republicans’ have come up with supposed solution to theproblem; This is the NYFirst set of reforms for better government, and oneof them being Budget Reform.

Budget Reform is a very political issue onboth sides of the aisle, with one side caring more about other issuesconcerning 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 abig role as well. Both sides and their different points of views will belooked at regarding NYFirst’s Budget Reform package, and therefore, both oftheir thoughts are going to be different about what to do, and what toworry about in the long run for the State of New York.

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The Assembly Republicans in New York have a very sound view when itcomes to the budget in this state, and that is basically that it should beon time every time. The proposed Republican plan for budget reform is allshown in the Assembly Bill #1258 which was introduced in 2003 (AssemblyBill#1258). The bill was introduced by Minority Leader Charlie Nesbitt,and all other 46 Republican members, is one which calls for change, and forthe betterment of the entire process. This bill is a new bill, and hasnever been introduced in the Assembly yet. This NYFirst: Budget Reformpackage has seven reforms it wants to see happen. It calls for 1) Revenueforecasts by March 1st from all four legislative fiscal committees and theState Comptroller, 2) A binding forecast by March 10th will be imposed bythe Comptroller if no agreement, 3) Conference committees by March 15th todiscuss the budget publicly, 4) A Default budget if still not passed within72 hours; the previous years budget goes into effect, 5) No non-budgetbills 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 moreefficient.

The Assembly Republican minority truly thinks that these reformswould solve the late budget process, and finally stop all of the troubleslate budgets do to the state as a whole. The Republicans’ say a latebudget has a great dismal effect on New York, and its people. Threeexamples that could be used for this would be how it effects schooldistricts, not-for-profit organizations, and local governments (LateBudgets and…3). These examples are ones, which present great evidence asto why the budget process should be passed on time. “Businesses can’texpand and invest in new jobs and schools are forced to ‘guess-timate’ howmuch money they have for programs,” as stated by Charlie Nesbitt whentalking about the impact of a late budget (Legislative Gazette 5). In aforum conducted by the Republican Assembly Minority Committee last year,numerous people from the for mentioned examples above were present to voicetheir opinion about the late budget. In one forum from Western New York,Robert W. Smith, Superintendent of Elba Central School District, statedthat, “Last year’s extremely late budget made it impossible for ElbaCentral 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 RepublicanAssembly reform package. Another example that could be used as an exampleof how a late budget can effect in a negative way would be from a forum inAlbany, by Marvin LeRoy, Jr., Executive Director of the Alzheimer’sAssociation of Northeastern New York. He said that, “In my personalexperience as an individual running non-profit organizations for almost twodecades, I have spent my entire career living with the consequences ofunpredictable and uncertain state budget funding streams” (LateBudgets…6). These two examples are just a couple of the many horribleconsequences of having a late budget; the Republicans think that it has tochange. The groups mentioned are truly effected by the late budgetprocess, and would be benefited by having an on time budget, by far.

The NYFirst: Budget Reform package is one of enormous importance tothe Republican Party in the Assembly. It is the first of its kind in thisparticular branch of government in New York. “It is astonishing to hearthat the Assembly has passed over 3,100 mostly “one-house” bills (with nopossibility of ever becoming law as they are not sent to the Senate fortheir review) in the absence of an enacted state budget,” saidAssemblywoman Sandra Lee Wirth (News from Sandra…2). She basicallystated 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 theAssembly is ‘the people’s house’, but only under the Speaker’s approval ofbills. The concept of ‘people’s house’ is no longer valid if you think ofit that way. (Capital News…1). It basically says that people don’t gettheir fair say in government. Even though this legislation is the first ofits kind in the Assembly, it isn’t in the State Senate. Senate Republicanshave in the past years approved similar plans about budget reform whileAssembly Republicans are criticizing Assembly Democrats for not introducinga 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 theright thing, which would be beneficial in the long run for the people, andstate of New York. The Republican plan is one in which has good ideas andintentions, but overall, its up to the Democratic Majority to decide if itgoes through or not. “I think they think it’s a joke,” said FairbanksSchools Superintendent, “How do you go 19 years in a row? Either thelegislators believe it (the deadline) is a useless, no-harm provision thathurts on one or they are just completely irresponsible” (Daily FreemanApril 2). This statement is yet another critic of the late budget process,and it just pushes the NYFirst: Budget Reform package up in public opinionas the right thing to do for the state. It can be said that the AssemblyRepublicans truly want this package of reforms for the right reasons, andthe Assembly Democrats are ones that are the only thing to stand in itsway.

Now the points of view changes regarding the NYFirst: Budget Reformpackage. The Democratic majority has a more laid-back feel when it comesto an on time budget. No one in their right mind would disagree with thenotion of having a state budget on time as being a terrible thing, but justhaving certain priorities come first. Democrats in the State Assembly feelthat a “late is better than never policy” feel about an on time budget, andthat a “great late budget is better than an on time budget that isn’t goodat all” (Daily Freeman April 2). By having this certain philosophy thatthe budget being late is the least of their worries, the Democrats worrymore so about trying to balance the budget and fight more towards makingsure certain aspects of the budget for the upcoming year fund adequatelyfor different parts they want. Rather than worry about having an on timebudget, Democrats are trying to make a budget that more so upholdseducation and healthcare funding, and undermines the Governor’s proposedbudget. “Nearly every aid category specifically targeted to high needchildren, or designed to help students increase their achievements has beenwiped out. That is the educational future that this budget envisions, andthat is the wrong choice that this Governor makes” (Statistical andNarrative Summary…1). This statement is one key aspect of what theDemocrats worry about when the budget is presented each and every year.

Assembly Democrats don’t worry as much about making an on time budget, asthey do about making a budget that addresses all their needs for certainaspects included in it. The Democrats have a majority of 103 to 47 in theAssembly, so if they want to discuss issues that matter to them more sothan passing a budget that they overall don’t agree with, they can do asthey please. With looking upon the NYFirst: Budget Reform package from theDemocrats point of view, you can truly see that they don’t care so much asto how long it takes, but how much they can restore from the Governor’soriginal slashing proposal. “We may choose to go our separate ways,” saidSpeaker Silver about the Governor’s proposed budget. It can be said thatthe Democrats would restore many of the education and health cuts sought bythe Governor (NY Daily News April 8). These are the main concerns from theDemocrats when it comes to the budget, so the NYFirst: Budget Reform is theleast of their concerns. The only thing that matters to them is that theyhave the majority, and with having that they can take as much time as theywant to debate.

Both sides of the aisle take different views when looking upon theNYFirst: Budget Reform package. Both sides also were looked atindividually from each perspective as well. The Republicans know that thisset of reforms is a great idea. The Democrats recognize the budget reformpackage as being a good idea, but they don’t like the power it would drainfrom them (their majority “do what they want” rule), and they’d rather makea budget that fits their needs later, than one that doesn’t on time. Bothsides of the aisle would have to realize though the impact the governorcould cause if he decides to use his “short-term emergency spending bills,”which he produces. With that said it left most lawmakers saying it wouldbe better for the Legislature to do its own budget rather than agree to theGovernor’s proposals (Times Union April 9). “If we use the governor’sbudget and cut staff and increase class sizes and cut programs-and thenlater, the Legislature modifies the budget, we’re stuck,” said Fairportboard member Kenneth Harris (Ithaca Journal April 1). From this exampleyou can see how an on time budget could help out, and would also give moretime for the entire New York Legislature to work out the budgets with thegovernor before the deadline. By far, the NYFirst: Budget Reform packagewould be a good choice for Assembly lawmakers. This highly publicized setof reforms is one which would make it so that a late budget never happensagain, and therefore, the governor doesn’t have to use his supposed “shortterm emergency spending bills” in the future. Bill #A1258 would solve theproblem of a late budget on behalf of the Assembly though.

Cite this NYFirst: Budget Reform Legislation

NYFirst: Budget Reform Legislation. (2019, Apr 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/nyfirst-budget-reform-legislation/

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