Speaker Silver Notes

First Meeting Of The 2012 General Budget Conference Committee

L.O.B., Hearing Room "B," Albany, NY
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 [5 pm]

I know that I speak for my Assembly colleagues on both sides of the aisle, when I say how pleased we are to be convening the joint budget conference subcommittees, and pleased to be on target to deliver an on-time, if not early, state budget.

My colleagues and I are delighted to be joining our counterparts in the Senate and to be engaging in meaningful dialogue with them and with the Governor to produce a budget.

If I might, let me introduce the members of the Assembly who are serving on this General Budget Conference Committee. To my right are:

The Assembly's Budget Proposal, which we adopted yesterday, closes the $3.5 billion budget deficit without raising additional taxes and accepts about 98 percent of the Governor's proposed spending reductions.

Under our plan, All Funds spending would remain flat year to year, for a total of $132.7 billion. This is $225 million or 0.2 percent increase above the Governor's proposal.

Our proposal would lower revenues by $12 million in SFY 2012-13, and would provide $118 million in net tax relief in SFY 2013-14.

We advance the effort to create jobs in every region of the state by funding NY Works projects, the Restore New York Communities program, and by continuing the Regional Economic Development Councils' competitive grant program;

As I promised in January, we are striving to re-establish the ladder to middle-class financial security by proposing a Working Families Tax Cut, by increasing the state's investment in our SUNY and CUNY community colleges, and by establishing the "Back to Work New York Jobs" program, in order to provide job training and internship placement to the long-term unemployed.

To further strengthen the ladder to middle-class financial security, the Assembly Budget Proposal honors our historic commitments to Education and to vital "safety net" programs.

We propose to increase school aid by $806.4 million; honoring the two-year commitment made last year to increase school aid by approximately four percent. Our proposal directs $178 million to school districts through a renewed commitment to Foundation Aid.

To help the less fortunate, those for whom the ladder to economic security is currently out of reach, we provide $24 million for full implementation of the ten-percent public assistance grant increase slated to go into effect on July 1, 2012.

We also restore funding to a number of programs typically supported by TANF, including SUNY/CUNY Child Care, Career Pathways, Displaced Homemakers, the ACCESS Welfare to Careers program and Settlement Houses, to name a few.

This is a snapshot of our budget proposal. We believe that our plan is prudent, responsible and consistent with the Executive proposal. In it, we honor our commitments while recognizing that economic growth continues to be slow.

We look forward to working out the differences between our respective fiscal plans and to working with the Governor to strengthen our economy and provide New Yorkers with the more efficient and effective government they deserve.