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For Release — Friday, October 28, 2005

FIVE BUSINESS GROUPS JOIN STOP THE AMENDMENT

ALBANY—Five New York business associations have joined Stop the Amendment, the coalition of think tanks, fiscal-policy experts, good-government groups, former state budget officials, and business groups chaired by former Governor Hugh Carey. The coalition is united in its opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment that would radically change New York’s budget-making process.

The business groups that have joined the coalition include the Buffalo Niagara Partnership; the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce; the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce; the
Rome Area Chamber of Commerce; and the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

“The Buffalo Niagara Partnership has urged its members – 2,500 local businesses who employ about 200,000 people -- to vote ‘no’ on the proposed Constitutional amendment to change New York State's budget process,” said Andrew J. Rudnick, the president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “The last thing it does is reform a broken budget process and, worse, substantially reduces controls on state spending by giving the Assembly and the Senate greater power over the budget-writing process. This is bad for businesses and taxpayers in Buffalo Niagara -- and everywhere else in New York State, too.”

“The Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce supports real budget reform in New York State,” said Debra Ligel, the president and CEO of the Cheektowaga Chamber. "Real reform would promote timely budgets, responsible spending, and the opportunity to reduce our high taxes. The proposed amendment fails to meet those goals. We encourage the Legislature and the Governor’s office to work towards this end.”

“The overall impact would be to make a terribly bad situation even worse,” said Alex Porter, public affairs chair of the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce.

“History shows that the more the legislature is involved in budget-making decisions, the more costly it is for taxpayers,” said William Guglielmo, President of the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce. “Let’s keep New York on track toward a stronger economy by urging a ‘no vote’ on the amendment.”

"We oppose the amendment because it would place the budget preparation in the hands of the Legislature which has increased by over a billion dollars per year the proposed budget of the governor for the past 10 years," said Joseph W. Dalton, Jr., president of the Saratoga County Chamber.

The coalition, which includes 24 groups, is conducting a variety of outreach activities designed to share with New York’s voters and taxpayers broad concerns about the amendment and how it would change New York’s budgeting process.

Other coalition members include: