Oct 12, 2005

Letter to the Times Union Editor

Proposition 1 is a losing proposition


First published: Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Proposition 1, on the ballot this November, is a proposal to amend the New York Constitution to change the budget process.

Any change to a broken process may sound like a good idea at first to those of us who watch our state Legislature daily from the up-close environs of the Capital Region, but Proposition 1 would actually make things worse.

It would give the 212 members of the Legislature more authority over the budget when the state fiscal year begins without a new budget in place. In other words, if our senators and Assembly members don't pass the budget on time, we'd reward them with more power to draft the budget than they already have, weakening the role of our governor (whomever it may be at the time). Obviously, the Legislature will delay the budget vote just to increase its bargaining power.

A reform law passed some years ago provided that legislators wouldn't get paid once the fiscal year begins until they get the budget done. That's only fair. The rest of us don't get paid unless we perform our job duties.

But Proposition 1 would insulate politicians from that sort of discipline. It would allow them to be paid regardless of how late the budget is.

Weighing in against Proposition 1 are former Gov. Hugh Carey and Gov. Pataki, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, Citizens' Union, the small-business members of the National Federation of Independent Business, the Business Council of New York State and the Citizens Budget Commission.

All of us are urging New Yorkers to vote no on Proposition 1 on Election Day. We need real reform in Albany. Proposition 1 would only make the state's fiscal problems worse.

ROGER A. HANNAY

President

Hannay Reels Inc.

Westerlo