Finch, Minority Colleagues Urge Assembly Majority to Bring Bipartisan Reform Bills to Floor
Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) today encouraged Assembly Majority to bring two important reform bills to the floor for a public vote. The measures already passed the state Senate in nearly unanimous, bipartisan fashion. They have Majority sponsors and uniform support from the Assembly Minority. So far, they’ve been stymied by the Assembly’s Majority leadership.
One of the bills, A.6355-A, would restore the comptroller’s oversight of the state’s contracting process. The other bill, A.8175-A, would create a user-friendly, searchable online database of all of the state’s taxpayer-funded development projects.
“We know these programs have been compromised. Our Conference has been saying it for years, and after a string of very public investigations, trials, arrests and convictions, New Yorkers across the state understand it too. We need checks and balances. We need transparency. We can’t allow the administration to have unfettered access to a taxpayer slush fund that’s misused to court campaign donations,” said Finch.
Finch says that the remaining days of the legislative session need to be used to reach compromise on important issues.
“We can pass one-house bills for political reasons, or we can actually do the hard work of forging consensus on important legislation that already has bipartisan support,” said Finch.
Finch said the impetus for the legislation should be clear.
The governor’s former campaign manager is going to jail. Another top administration official awaits trial for rigging bids for favored contractors who donated lavishly to the governor’s re-election effort. Most recently, there is an ongoing investigation into a healthcare provider in Orange County that donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the governor in exchange for $25 million in state grants.
“Assemblyman Oaks has led the way on this issue, and our Conference supports legislation which would go even farther than these two measures. We’d audit all of the development programs. We’d withhold salaries from officials who ignore reporting deadlines. We’d require the Division of Budget director, the comptroller and the attorney general to sign off on all large lump sum payments. We’d prevent entities who are seeking state contracts from donating to statewide political candidates. We think all of those measures are worthwhile. However, we want to focus on passing the two bills that Majority and Minority in the Senate already passed because we want to get something done,” said Finch.