Last week, when few details regarding the state budget were available to the public, good government groups complained that the budget was being negotiated behind closed doors. NYPIRG, Citizens Union, Common Cause New York, the League of Women Voters, and Reinvent Albany said that while this is common in Albany, this year’s budget process has been even more opaque than in previous budget cycles.
The groups also criticized the Governor and the Legislature for not including an ethics reform package as part of the budget. Gov. Cuomo had proposed, in conjunction with his Executive Budget, a ‘Good Government and Ethics Reform’ package.
This is not an uncommon complaint about the state budget process – that too much of it is negotiated by “three men in a room” and “behind closed doors.” We don’t disagree with these concerns, but when all is said and done, it’s the quality of the work that counts.
It does seem somewhat odd that in the year after both legislative leaders were convicted of using their respective office for personal gain, lawmakers did not feel compelled to take action to address the situation. But we’re not sure that it’s a shortage of laws that seems to be the problem. It seems that there is no one who is effectively enforcing the laws that already exist. We would like to hear the good government groups’ suggested solution to that problem.