The budget season is quickly coming to a close and the legislature will need to have their budget finalized by next Friday (April 1st) if they want to avoid the executive taking over the process. This week the Joint Conference Committees released their proposed table targets. Table targets are the amount of money proposed by the leadership to be allocated by the Conference Committees. We were very dismayed to hear that k through 12 Education only received a $60 million target. This $60 million is in addition to a $991 million proposal for general school aid funding, that funding will be allocated through the legislative leaders and executive.
The League has been very concerned over the lack of transparency during this budget process. Negotiations between leaders have been done behind closed doors and this week’s Mother Ship Conference with the Senate and Assembly leaders lasted a total of 4 minutes. Nearly every Conference Committee leader indicated that the members would be returning home for Easter weekend but that staff will continue to work on the budget.
On Friday the League took a break from focusing on the budget to participate in a forum on the Constitutional Convention. This event focused on the issue of ethics and what sort of changes could be made to help fix Albany’s culture of corruption. Our Legislative Director Barbara Bartoletti participated on a panel with Blair Horner, Executive Director of NYPIRG and Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director of the Brennan Center. The League has teamed up with the Rockefeller Institute and helped to create a multiyear educational campaign to promote understanding and awareness of essential issues pertaining to the NYS Constitution leading up to the 2017 NYS Constitutional Convention referendum. The Rockefeller Institute will be holding events throughout the state this summer and fall. We will be posting upcoming events on our website, twitter, and facebook so be sure to check regularly to see when they will be coming to your area.