We should not celebrate Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature passing a budget on time. This is what they get paid to do. This budget was negotiated behind closed doors by Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Senate Republican Majority leader Dean Skelos, State Senate Democratic Independent Caucus leader Jeffrey Klein and Democratic State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Only they, their key aids and many of the infamous Albany State Street lobbyists were privy to the details. Democratic State Senate minority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Republican State Assembly minority leader Brian Kolb along with virtually all members of the State Senate and Assembly including our own State Senator Jack Martins and Assemblymember Michelle Schimel were left out of the process.
Did members of legislature take an Evelyn Wood speed reading class to absorb the thousands of pages contained in this spending bill? They received these only hours before being asked to vote up or down. Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, we would all be better off if our State Assembly and Senate member took the time to actually read, line by line, any proposed legislation before voting. Their legislative actions impact both our economic and civil liberties. Future generations may have to pay for and live with the consequences.
There should have been an open budget process agency by agency. The public, media and members of the legislature should have been afforded sufficient time to read the fine print page by page and conduct an open debate before adoption.