January 2010Dear Colleagues;On Tuesday, January 19
, Governor Paterson proposed his Executive Budget. As a conference, our priorities for thebudget are clear: it must create jobs, control spending, and protect already overburdened taxpayers. While everyoneis in agreement regarding the seriousness and scope of this economic crisis, it’s also clear that in order to meet ourobjectives, the Executive Budget will need significant modification to meet the standard of fiscal prudence.
In less than 20 years, the State Budget grew nearly 100-percent—an unsustainable pattern that well outpaced therace of inflation. Instead of capitalizing on the economic largesse of the 1990’s and early 2000’s, prior leadershipemployed a borrow-and-spend tradition. Poor fiscal choices then are hurting us now. For instance, New York’s debtservice load will increase by 17% this year, a clear indicator of the lack of fiscal stewardship of the past.Structural reforms to the budget are more than a step in the right direction, they are the only path to long-term fiscalhealth. It is disappointing that the Executive Budget just barely explores structural changes to state and budgetaryoperations. We must be thinking creatively; it is time for innovative budget reforms.
Modifications are Necessary
Nowhere in the Governor’s plan is there a short- or long-term guarantee to provide property tax relief. The SenateMajority is committed to developing a long-term plan for homeowners, and one of the many ways we can free upfunds for such a plan is through reducing the scope of government.The Governor’s across-the-board cuts for government are typical – and not nearly enough.The Legislature has an obligation to the public to enact a budget that creates jobs, controls spending, and providesrelief. The data prepared by Finance Committee staff will provide greater insight into specific programmaticproposals within the Governor’s budget which must be discussed in depth, opposed when necessary, and madestronger when appropriate to maintain New York’s status as the Empire State.Sincerely,Senator Carl KrugerChair, Senate Finance Committee