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From the Desk of Assemblyman Joseph Saladino: April 16, 2010

Late Budget Is Not Acceptable

The New York state budget is considerably late. At a time when the Assembly and Senate leadership should be reaching a consensus with the governor, negotiations have reached a standstill. This is not acceptable. The Assembly and Senate Majorities, who control the legislative process and must by law hold public conferences on the budget, have not done enough to produce a budget that is on time, economically responsible, or fair to Upstate and Long Island.

It should be of no surprise to read the facts:

• The leaders of the two majorities (who are currently in the driver’s seat) and the governor are all from the same political party and all are from New York City.

• Now devoid of checks and balances, the majorities are not abiding by the budget reform laws recently passed in 2007 to create openness, fairness and transparency in the state budget process.

• Each day that passes without a state budget results in higher costs to taxpayers, job losses due to funding stoppages to projects including construction, and financial pain to our most vital services, which ultimately lead to cuts.

• Proposed cuts to state school aid for Long Island schools and essential health care are at a disproportionate rate that hurts Long Island. New York City is not feeling cuts as deeply as suburban regions.

I voted against this type of unfair and inadequate funding and I will continue to fight against this year’s budget which is shaping up to hurt our region. All too many times, when state aid is cut, the result is skyrocketing local property taxes. We cannot afford it, and the Albany Majority leadership must understand that we need a fair budget that is responsible with protections for overburdened taxpayers.