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2012-13 NYS Budget process is under way, looks promising

— Governor Cuomo recently unveiled the proposed 2012-13 Executive Budget. To deliver a final budget by April 1, there is a procedure set by the Budget Reform Act of 2007, which includes joint legislative public budget hearings and joint budget conference committee meetings.

The joint legislative public budget hearings started Jan. 23 and will conclude Feb. 14. These hearings provide legislators the opportunity to ask questions of department heads and provide the opportunity for the public to testify on areas of the budget like education, Medicaid and local government. Written comments also may be submitted. After these hearings, the Senate and the Assembly will prepare their own one-house budgets, which take into account the Governor’s budget proposal, along with the public comments and written testimony. Next, Senate/Assembly joint budget conference committee hearings will be held, so that members of the legislature can debate their one house bills and propose amendments to the Governor’s Executive Budget to arrive at a final legislative budget that will be submitted to the Governor for his approval.

After the budget is submitted to the Governor, he can either sign or veto all, or parts of it. If the Governor exercises any veto, the budget would be returned to the Legislature where the Legislature can override the veto, if there are enough votes to do so. The Budget Reform Act of 2007 requires a strict timetable for the budget to be publicly debated. This process was successfully adhered to last year, resulting in an on-time budget, and a good budget that cut spending by $10 billion without raising taxes. I am confident that, again, this year an on-time and responsible budget will be enacted by following this same law.

Sen. John DeFrancisco represents residents of the 50th District in the NYS Senate. To reach Sen. DeFrancisco, call 428-7632.

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