The New York State budget is now more than one month late. Timid “leaders” in the state legislature are so afraid to unveil cuts during an election season that we face a $9 billion budget deficit, a figure that’s rapidly increasing as the state continues to take out loans to pay for services until the budget is revealed. And New York City is being forced to submit its own budget in the face of uncertainty, as city administrators haven’t been informed of what funding to expect from the state. (Bloomberg is expecting a $1.3 billion slash in state funds).
At the epicenter of budget negotiations is the Senate Finance Committee chairman – Sheepshead Bay’s State Senator Carl Kruger. For the past month, and before it, Kruger has remained mum about budget discussions. As you can see from the video above, he has shut out even his fellow legislators. Because of his reluctance to add transparency to the process, the public remains in the dark on what funding gaps exist, and what cuts are on the table. As residents and constituents, we’re given no say on where our money will be spent, and we have no opportunity to offer solutions to the inevitable cuts.
Of course, we’ll probably never have that opportunity. Last year, the final proposal was dumped on the public (and the minority party) and a vote on it was scheduled for just hours later. As distance grows between the passed deadline and the vote, the agencies, municipalities, and the leaders that represent them are desperate for any plan at all – a situation Kruger and his crew depend on.
This is thuggish, undemocratic behavior. Open up the budget process, Senator Kruger. If you can’t get the job done on time, then let us have our say.