Lupardo: Budget Reform Adopted

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced that budget reform legislation she sponsored (A.2755/S.1322) passed both the Assembly and Senate and was signed into law (Ch. 1 of 2007) by Governor Spitzer on January 24, 2007. The new budget reform legislation aims to promote more balanced, timely and transparent budgets.

This legislation eliminates the $200 million in “lump sum” appropriations for local initiatives (also known as “Member Items”), an important step in cleaning up the budget process. Now each local grant will be outlined in the budget and subject to the governor’s line-item veto.

The legislation also:

  • mandates “quick start” budget discussions each November;
  • requires the executive and legislative branches to meet quarterly and share briefings on key fiscal issues and performance;
  • directs the State Comptroller to establish a revenue forecast by March 5 if the governor and Legislature fail to reach consensus by March 1;
  • supplements the balanced budget requirement by adding that the enacted budget – and not just the submitted budget – must be balanced;
  • builds a new Rainy Day Reserve of 3 percent into the budget to prepare for responses to economic downturns or catastrophes – bringing the state’s combined authorized reserve funds up to 5 percent of annual spending; and,
  • requires the Legislature to explain the fiscal impact of its proposed changes to legislators and the public before a budget vote.

“I commend the new governor for pledging to improve the budget process and to make it clearer to legislators, the public and the news media,” Lupardo said. “I look forward to working on additional reforms with Governor Spitzer and my colleagues.”