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Cuomo again says he won’t approve budget without ethics reform

Posted 26 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued this statement today in an update on the state budget.

“There’s been much discussion on the subject of including policy in the state budget. It is a red herring.

“The truth is that every budget boils down to two essential issues: How much money are we spending and how are we spending it? There is no financial judgment that can be made without a corresponding policy judgment. Indeed many of the Legislature’s proposals in their one house budgets have related policy proposals.

“There are two fundamental issues in this budget. The first is ethics reform. It’s an issue that speaks directly to the integrity of the process that determines and manages the $141 billion budget. Nothing could be more relevant to the budget process than the ethics of the people responsible for the budget itself. I reject the idea that ethics reform should only be considered outside the budget process – it is at the heart of the budget process. Saying ethics reforms should be done outside the budget is another way of saying one doesn’t want to do ethics reform.

“The second major issue in the budget is education. Education is the largest single expenditure in the state budget. The relevant budget decision is not just how much we spend, but how we spend it. What are we doing about failing schools, how do we pay teachers and what we are paying for are questions that are implicitly raised in every budget. This year, we are for the first time asking how we can successfully address and fix a broken education bureaucracy that has relegated tens of thousands of New York’s children to failing schools every year and how to improve the overall performance of our education system.

“These two issues remain my highest priorities in this budget. They are transformative changes.

“Tackling substantial lapses in our ethics laws is an issue government has grappled with for more than 50 years. The question of client disclosure has plagued Albany since the 1960’s. Addressing inequities, inefficiencies and substandard performance in our education system has eluded us for decades.

“A successful budget means enacting these policies that will rebuild trust in state government and transform our public schools in a way that will impact future generations of New York’s children.

“To repeat, I will not sign a budget without real ethics reform or agree to a dramatic increase in education aid without education reform that provides accountability, performance and standards.”