Thursday, March 24, 2011

Krueger Offers Amendments to Senate's Budget Office Bill

Depending on the commotion of the budget process, the Senate is likely to address the creation of a Legislative Budget Office on Monday, which has Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger raising some serious concerns in a letter to Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
In a letter from Tuesday, Krueger expanded on some of the concerns she had espoused earlier that day during a Senate Finance Committee.
During the committee she highlighted the fact that the proposed LBO (SB 4006) was a variation of a proposal she had advanced for years. Additionally, she noted that there could be some constitutional concerns with the bill, because it provides 20 percent of its funding with money from the Division of the Budget.This constitutional concern was echoed by an internal memorandum from the governor's office and by Blair Horner of NYPIRG.
Krueger also stressed language in the bill that was missing, which would allow the Legislature to unilaterally "declare" the budget balanced, instead of relying on generally accepted accounting principles.
In her letter to Skelos, Krueger expanded on her concerns that the LBO wouldn't actually comply with GAAP at all, which is why she endorsed the idea of an independent review board model to ensure certain standards. This proposal (SB 414) was suggested earlier in the year by Krueger, in addition to a bill (SB 445) that would ensure the budget office protected the rights of the minority party.
Strangely enough, though, Krueger voted for the proposal in the Finance Committee, with only Democratic Sen. Bill Perkins not voting aye, as he chose to vote without recommendation.
(Additional reporting by StateWatch reporter Tim Atkins)

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