January 30, 2004
Assembly Democrats propose reforms to state budget process
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has proposed broad reforms for New York's budget process, including requiring public authorities to submit their budget information to the legislature for review, moving all off-budget spending under the state's Health Care Reform Act (HCRA) onto the state budget, and increasing by 5 percent the money that goes to the state's rainy-day fund.
The Senate Majority passed a similar budget reform package on January 20 that included some of the same proposals.
At a Jan. 27 press conference, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno praised the Assembly Democrats for addressing the budget issue. But Bruno also described as "troublesome" the Assembly's proposal to require some public authorities to submit their budgets to lawmakers.
"We can reconcile whatever differences there are," Bruno told the Albany Times-Union. "We must stay focused on the budget process and not other issues unrelated to the budget process itself."
In addition to new disclosure policies, the Assembly plan would also:
the start of the fiscal year from April 1 to May 1.
a “performance measurement system” to determine
how efficiently and effectively state agencies are operating.
a state Legislative Budget Office modeled after the Congressional
Budget Office and the New York City Independent Budget Office.
The office would provide nonpartisan analysis of state revenues,
expenditures and management practices.
a “bidder’s database” for state agencies
and authorities to research the history of an individual
or company bidding for a state contract.
- Require greater detail on state information technology contracts and financial obligations. The new system would track would better track the spending and status of computer systems, such as the state’s Medicaid Management Information System.
"We're glad to see the legislative leadership taking positive steps towards reforming our budget process," said Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh. "We hope that both sides of the aisle can maintain the momentum for reform this year."