Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Spitzer, Legislature agree to budget reforms


"ALBANY, N.Y. -- Gov. Eliot Spitzer and legislative leaders on Tuesday agreed to budget reforms they said will ensure an on-time budget that will disclose all spending, including pork-barrel grants. The agreement will require the secretive "member items" to be disclosed before they are put to a vote by the Legislature. Member items total more than $200 million a year in grants that, until this year, were allocated by lawmakers and the governor with little public disclosure. The measures will also end the long delays of the past when the governor and legislative leaders were unable to agree on how much revenue the state could spend in the coming fiscal year. Under the agreement, the state comptroller will set the available revenue, or "avails," if the governor and legislative leaders fail to agree on a number by March 5. The governor will also provide far more fiscal data to legislative leaders in November to help them plan spending proposals." This is definitely a step in the right direction....a "work in progress"...........for the rest....
click here........Liz Benjamin(The Politicker) has her take on this....Budget Reform Agreement (Updated) .........here is her summary of all the upcoming changes......."Under this agreement, Spitzer said, it will now be statutorily incumbent on the Legislature to enact a balanced budget (a requirement that at this point only applies to the governor’s proposed spending plan).
In addition, Spitzer said, there will be no unallocated lump sums of member item money included in the budget that he proposes on Jan. 31.
Traditionally, each house got $85 million and the governor got $30 million." and...............
Other changes:
If the governor and the Legislature cannot reach an agreement on revenues by March 1, then the state comptroller will come up with a figure that, by March 5, will be binding. (The current date for agreement on revenues, conceptually speaking, is March 10).
There must be a schedule for joint conference committees to meet within 10 days of the governor’s budget proposal.
The governor has 21 days, rather than 30, to submit budget amendments.
Legislators will be given a summary of amendments so they have some idea of what they’re voting on before they do it.
There will be multi-year financial plans, which detail the long-term impact of the budget on local governments. “The shell game of burden shifting will not be allowed to continue,” Spitzer said.
“Quick start” budget discussions will be required each November and quarterly meetings between the executive and legislative branches will be held thereafter.

Welcome to Day 1.............andy

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