Yesterday, Governor David A Paterson presented the Executive Budget for the fiscal year 2010-2011. New York’s fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31. In introducing Paterson, Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravage used the word collegial twice. This should have been a warning to all – lawmakers and others – listening and watching the presentation that hard things were to come.
Paterson opened with the usual thank yous and started with telling us of the budget gaps that have been closed in the two years he has been governor – all working with the legislature. In the process and unlike many other states with extreme fiscal difficulties, NYS has maintained its excellent bond rating. He ended his overview by saying that this is not a budget of choice but rather a budget of necessity.
Paterson has long been a proponent of a spending cap. He stated that all the cuts he is proposing will be within the perimeters of a spending cap even though he is not legally required to have such a cap in place. My problem with a spending cap has always been it cannot be put in place without mandate relief. If a spending cap is put in place without mandate relief, the state is just pushing the costs down to municipalities. This budget includes mandate relief.
The largest of the over 100 mandate reliefs will be repeal of the Wicks Law for municipalities and school districts outside of New York City. The Wicks Law was enacted in 1924 and requires that services for construction, electricity, HVAC and plumbing be bid separately. While this is a blow to organized labor or unions, it is a necessity in the world we are currently living in.
Details can be found online here. I strongly suggest that we all look at this budget carefully. Cuts are across the board. Many are going to hurt areas I support but I do not see how NYS can continue the way it has been going.