State Budget Confusion
March 12th, 2009
The three men in a room can’t get their message straight about whether they are actually doing away with conference committees as part of the budget process this year.
Assembly Majority Leader Sheldon silver said yesterday that the big three would be hashing out the budget by themselves and skipping single house bills and conference committees.
“If there are no differences then the act doesn’t require you to hold conference committees because you’re in agreement,” said Silver today. “What is required is, when both houses pass different budgets, they are required to go to conference committees to iron out their differences. If both houses pass the same budget, if both houses pass the same bill at any time, there is nothing to conference.”
However, Austin Shafran, spokesperson for Senate Majority Malcolm Smith, told the Gazette yesterday that the plan was to have the big three hash out the major points of agreement and then address smaller points of disagreement in committee.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle is reporting that Gov. David Paterson was not sure whether conference committees will be part of the process. “A conference committee exists because there is a disagreement,” he said Wednesday. “That’s what a conference committee is for. I don’t know if conference committees are scrapped. They’ve just been postponed until next week because the majority leader and the speaker and their negotiating team … must feel that they are close to consensus, which would be a huge shot in the arm for the prospect of passing a budget on time.”By David King on March 12, 2009, 12:26 pm
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