Assemblyman Chris Friend (R-Big Flats) was pleased by the positive turn taken in the successful passage of an early state budget. The late-night deal-making and closed-door sessions so typical of Albany politics were avoided in this years transparent and timely budget process.
Back in December, the tone for another secretive budget was seemingly laid with the typical three-men-in-a-room deal-making, messages of necessity and late-night votes on bills, said Friend. Fortunately, we are ending this process on a positive note. Public opinion has been taken into account, and as a result, we have the first early budget in decades.
While Assemblyman Friend saw successful improvements on the process behind the passage of the 2012-13 budget, he was disappointed by the Legislatures failure to enact several amendments that would have provided financial relief, both to counties facing the burden of unfunded mandates, and to the job creators who fuel our economy.
While the 2012-13 budget provides for a state assumption of counties share of Medicaid growth, comprehensive mandate relief was ignored, said Friend. It is a travesty that amendments placing a three-year moratorium on unfunded mandates and freezing the local share of Medicaid costs were not implemented in this state budget. These measures would have provided the type of meaningful mandate relief our taxpayers and municipalities deserve.
Now that the 2012-13 state budget is done, more work is still needed to get our state back on track. That is why I am going to continue to fight to eliminate unfunded mandates on our municipalities and businesses and push for a permanent extension of the 2010 middle-class tax cut.