Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,IÃ¢â‚¬â€Pulaski) said today though he is glad the Assembly Ways and Means committee has begun a series of public hearings on the GovernorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s proposed budget cuts, these hearings should have taken place months ago.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m pleased weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re listening to constituentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ ideas throughout the state on the budget mess weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re in, however, the Assembly Ways and Means Committee should have been holding hearings when it became clear that mid-year cuts were a possibility back in July,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Barclay.
Last week the Governor addressed the state and explained that this is the most serious fiscal situation our state has experienced in recent history, and the state is in danger of defaulting if action is not taken. The deficit has reached $3 billion and is expected to grow. He proposed across the board cuts. Today the Assembly Ways and Means Committee took testimony in Albany from representatives of various organizations.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s true that sales and income tax receipts are down due to the recession but this deficit didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen overnight. The Ways and Means Committee knows that better than anyone. Poor fiscal management and overspending in the last decade has gotten us to this inconvenient crisis of extreme mid-year cuts,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Barclay. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Even when the state received federal aid in record proportions this spring, state leaders kept spending beyond the rate of inflation. I will continue to vote against overspending. And I will continue to vote against tax increases, as a way to close budget gaps,Ã¢â‚¬Â added Barclay.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hopefully the hearings will prove fruitful going forward and present the committee with some ideas as to how to close the budget gap in what will be a difficult process when the full Legislature meets to address the GovernorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s proposed cuts. It is my hope that we can arrive at some better solutions for future budgets, pass legislation in the near future that caps spending and makes state aid formulas more equitable,Ã¢â‚¬Â added Barclay.