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Letter: From Senator Marcellino

Over 40 days and counting since the Senate and Assembly leadership waived the white flag on any hope of an on-time budget for New York State. In that time, six budget extenders have come to the floor and I have voted no on every one. In the absence of any real negotiation, I will continue to vote no on this band-aid approach to budgeting.

I have said it before and I will say it again, New York State is suffering from a lack of leadership. Senate Leader Sampson is not talking with Assembly Speaker Silver and neither is willing to talk to Governor Paterson. Their total lack of urgency on the budget is appalling. Their inaction has reduced my budgeting power to voting no on budget extenders.

The first five budget extenders were unacceptable to me. They were wrong for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is the creation of two classes of New Yorkers. These extenders provide funding for some road and bridge projects and deny others. These extenders fund CUNY construction projects and deny funding for SUNY projects. These extenders empower the procrastinators.  

Now the sixth extender added state workers furloughs to the mix.  Again, putting certain New Yorkers on a different playing field. The furloughs single out and punish the workers who can least afford to lose a day’s pay. Workers making $50,000 or less will be forced to miss a mortgage payment, skip a doctor’s appointment or struggle to put food on the table. Many will say come on, it is only one day’s pay, but when you live paycheck to paycheck, such a reduction is devastating.

I was elected to represent all of my constituents. I will not stand quietly and allow any New Yorker to be treated as a second class citizen. I have and will continue to demand that we pass a budget that cuts spending and taxes and does not mortgage our children’s future with borrowing.  With each day that passes the problem grows bigger. Those that hope it will simply go away are jeopardizing the economic viability of every taxpayer in New York.

Some believe that opposing budget extenders will force the shutdown of government. I disagree. I believe our government stopped functioning long ago. No government works when it chooses to help some and ignore others. I am fed up with the absence of true budget negotiations. It is simply irresponsible and unacceptable to continue to do nothing. We need leadership and we need it now.  

Senator Carl L. Marcellino - 5th Senate District