Speaker Carl Heastie Outlines Budget Priorities At General Budget Conference Committee

March 13, 2019

[as prepared]

Good afternoon.

I want to start by thanking my Assembly Majority colleagues for all their hard work over these past few months in helping to craft our budget. Here with me today are Ways and Means Chair Helene Weinstein, Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Deputy Speaker Cathy Nolan and Speaker Pro-Tempore Jeff Aubry.

As you know, we adopted our budget resolution this afternoon, and as always it is a proposal that represents a statement of the priorities of the Assembly Majority.

As Vice President Joe Biden once said, “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

The Assembly’s budget reflects our values.

We continue to put families first by making investments in our schools, in pre-k and child care, and in those who give aid to the most vulnerable among us.

We restore dramatic cuts to the state’s healthcare network.

We include capital resources to expand higher education facilities, to make repairs to our public housing stock, and to invest in our transportation and transit networks.

Details of our proposal—including a financial plan—have been posted on our public website.

As Chair Weinstein noted on the floor earlier today, you will find that much of the policy actions recommended in the governor’s budget have been removed from our proposal. We did so because the quick start to this year’s legislative session rendered many proposals unnecessary—they have already been chaptered or have passed by the Assembly and Senate.

Other policy items were removed because they require more work or are simply unacceptable to members of the Assembly Majority. But there were still dozens of proposals that were removed due to their lack of impact on the financial plan. Our omission of such legislation does not necessarily signal our opposition to any particular bill. Instead, it should signal our willingness to consider these proposals in normal order through our long established and collaborative committee process.

Finally, I want to thank my wonderful colleague in the Senate, Leader Stewart-Cousins, and members of the Senate Majority, for all their efforts and I look forward to a productive budget negotiation.