Following a General Conference Committee meeting that was held at 7:30 p.m. last evening, which of course there was no public notice of, the Joint Budget Subcommittees began in earnest today. Today’s meetings were more of a political statement by the committee members of each house rather than substantive negotiations. With notable exception was the Higher Education Subcommittee where actual dollar amounts were used.
You can find a list of members appointed to the General Conference Committee and each of the Joint Budget Subcommittees for the year 2011-2012 on both the Assembly and Senate websites.
These meetings will continue through the rest of this week as the target numbers come down from the General Conference Committee. These Joint Conference Subcommittees have not been held for the past two years and at least this gives rank and file legislators and the public a view into how the 2011-2012 budget is being negotiated. Also today was a Leader’s meeting which was held behind closed doors apparently at the request of the Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Their reason for this is that open meetings are a distraction and media circus. So much for government transparency, especially during this week, which is sunshine week.
All leaders are still vowing to have a budget in place by April 1. Stay tuned for more on the budget saga.