Legislators and Public Deserve Opportunity to Review Details of Massive Spending Plan
Albany, NY – Members of the New York State Senate and Assembly Republican Conferences today called on Governor Kathy Hochul and the Legislative Majorities not to use so-called “messages of necessity” to bypass the constitutionally required three day aging process once budget bills get introduced. This critically important “aging” provision of the State Constitution helps to ensure that the public, the press, and all interested parties have the opportunity to actually review the budget bills prior to them being enacted into law.
Senate and Assembly Republicans called for the passage of a constitutional amendment (S.4285, A.5996), sponsored by Senator Mark Walczyk and Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay, to prohibit an immediate vote from being called by the governor or acting governor on any budget bills.
“Governor Hochul and the Legislature's Democrat majorities continue working behind closed doors to enact what will be the highest-spending budget New York State taxpayers have ever faced. It also sounds like it could be a budget overloaded with policy initiatives that will impact our local citizens, communities, and economies in fundamental ways. This budget demands a full public airing and the appropriate time for review and debate,” said Senator Tom O'Mara, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.
“Bypassing the aging provision under the guise of ‘message of necessity’ is another way for the Majority Conference to keep the budget one-sided and preferential toward their own wants. It is important legislators deliver a budget promptly, while also keeping transparency intact—these are not mutually exclusive. The public of New York has the right to review budget bills before they are enacted as law. New Yorkers should not be an afterthought when it comes to decisions that will directly affect them. Spending of any kind, especially when it is upwards of $230 billion, cannot be done in secret,” said Assemblyman Ed Ra.
“In her first speech after taking office, Governor Hochul promised 'a new era of transparency'. However, Democrat party bosses are showing they're in charge now. Her administration has shown zero transparency especially in this budget process. Now the latest budget in over a decade, the Governor will likely issue a message of necessity, so nobody has a chance to read it before it's voted on. I'm proud to introduce legislation to require the proper minimum 3 days of sunlight on budget bills,” said Senator Mark Walczyk.
“With a budget that is already 26 days late and being negotiated in secret and behind closed doors, the people of New York deserve to have sunlight on any final budget agreement and give the public and all 213 members of the Assembly and Senate time to review the budget of one of the world’s largest government spenders. The people of our state already have a distrust of state government and passing legislation in darkness only furthers that,” saidAssemblyman Josh Jensen.
“This year's budget looks to be packed with policies that would not only change how our state uses energy but would reconstruct our local suburban communities. Healthcare workers, not-for-profits, builders, school districts and residents alike have been waiting with growing anxiety to see what the final budget will contain. We owe it to them to introduce the bills properly and allow proper aging of the bills to allow our constituents the time and ability to read and understand what is being proposed,” said Senator Alexis Weik.
“It’s an embarrassment that power should be held unilaterally by one side yet wielded so inefficiently and carelessly. New Yorkers have made their needs painfully clear: this state needs to work on its affordability and public safety crises. Yet the majority has reportedly made no plans to address either in meaningful ways,”said Assemblyman Steve Hawley.
Yesterday, the Governor indicated a final budget agreement could come as soon as the end of this week. Despite the fact that the budget is nearly a month late, there has been little to no transparency on the details that are being negotiated entirely behind closed doors.
For example, Governor Hochul indicated that although a deal on changes to the dangerous bail reform laws has been reached, she declined to divulge details until a deal is reached on the overall spending plan.