Thursday, July 31, 2008

Skelos Putting on a Budget Show; Was Never Serious in First Place So Why Believe Him Now?

In Skelos' press release about the budget problems, Skelos mentioned that the State Senate approved a constitutional amendment that would cap state spending increases at 4%. He said "the Senate gave first passage to a constitutional amendment to cap the annual growth in State spending at no more than 4 percent. We recognized early on that a cap on state spending... would drive down spending, eliminate deficits and better protect taxpayers."
In Skelos' press conference he brought up the spending cap amendment again and added that the State would have saved a couple of billion dollars if it had been in place.
That is absolutely true.
The thing is though, my mother had always taught me that you can do things without being told to do them because it is the right thing to do. Skelos approved a State Budget that INCREASED spending by nearly 5 percent.

From the New York Times in March "The budget will increase aid to public schools by $1.75 billion over last year, and more than a third of the new money is to go directly to New York City. There is also $6 billion for capital projects at the State University of New
York and the City University of New York."
"...Some 2,000 new workers will be added to the state’s work force of 200,000. Each legislative chamber will receive $350 million in funds — derided by critics as pork — to dole out for capital projects across the state. And lawmakers perpetuated their widely criticized practice of handing out state money for various projects in their districts."

“They’re doing their pork, and they’re not doing any significant cutbacks,” said E. J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center at the Manhattan Institute, a conservative research group. “It’s very, very shortsighted. I get the feeling that legislators are knowingly burning the furniture in advance of an election.”

Even on the other side of the political spectrum, experts were questioning the wisdom of not making more cuts now.

“They’re not taking the difficult actions now to make the budget balanced over time,” said Frank Mauro, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, a left-leaning research group."

Skelos also said "However, even in the absence of a constitutional spending cap, the Legislature and the Governor should voluntarily agree to comply with the spending cap in next year’s Budget."
Again, why have to wait until next year?
Why didn't Skelos fight for only a 4% increase this year and stick with it?
You don't need to have a law tell you not to stab yourself in the eye with a fork. You just don't do it.


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