McKevitt Criticizes Closed-Door Budget Proceedings

Says lack of transparency is ‘insulting’ to 19 million residents of New York
March 24, 2009

Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R, C, I – East Meadow) today stood with his colleagues in the minority conferences of the Assembly and Senate to voice concern over the closed-door budget meetings between the three leaders in state government. To date, there have yet to be budget resolutions or joint budget conference committees that would shed some light on the budget process.

“Frankly, the current budget process is disenfranchising to the 19 million residents of New York who deserve transparency in the budget process. We are facing a $16.2 billion deficit and to have the ‘three men in a room’ close the door and craft a budget in the dark is inexcusable. The days may be getting longer, but it is pitch black in the hallways of the Capitol,” said McKevitt.

It also has been widely speculated that Governor Paterson will deliver a “message of necessity” to the Assembly and Senate, which would waive the constitutional requirement that budget bills age three days before they can be voted on. This process enables legislation to be voted on immediately. This will make it virtually impossible for legislators to read and review budget bills before they vote on them.

“It is flat-out shameful the governor would deliver a message of necessity to enable a vote on budget bills that are thousands of pages long without even getting the chance to read the bills. The three-day aging process was designed to prevent this type of political maneuvering that blatantly undermines democracy. The 19 million residents of our state deserve better.”