Requires disclosure of proposed recipients of member item appropriations; requires all members to be allowed an equal amount of appropriations for member items; makes the process of distributing member item funds more open to the public and provides for more equitable distribution of funds.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the state finance law, in relation to legislative additions to the governor's proposed budget bills
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To make the process of distributing "member items" more open and equitable.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Adds a new section 53-e to the state finance law, to make the process of distributing member items:
Provides that if there is any addition to the governor's budget bill for a member item, then every legislator in that house shall be entitled to direct an equal appropriation for use in his or her legislative district.
The senate finance and assembly ways and means committee shall provide the following for each proposed additional appropriation as described in subdivision one of this section:
* the formal name of the program, its sponsoring group, and its full address; the names of the sponsoring legislator or legislators;
* a description of and justification for the program; and
* whether a sponsoring legislator, or any of his or her family members, is an employee or conducts business with the sponsoring group or program.
The bill also provides that the Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee shall establish further rules and regulations for determining whether a proposed additional appropriation will be included in the state budget, and specifies that if so, it must be included as a line item. All information required by the new section must be made available to the public at a cost not to exceed what is provided for in Article 6 of the Public Officers Law.
JUSTIFICATION: Currently, the member item process is neither equitable nor open. Clearly, the process is unfair; some legislators receive large amounts of funding for their districts, while others receive little or no funding. A 1990 study by Common Cause/New York found that one group of counties with less than half the state's population got nearly two thirds of all member item money for schools and the elderly.
No formal mechanisms exist for the distribution of member item funds to particular legislators' districts, or for groups to apply for member item grants. There does not appear to be any assessment of the relative merits of member item grants.
We should hold ourselves, and our colleagues, accountable to the citizens of New York. Member items are paid for with taxpayer money. Information about who stands to benefit from these state dollars should be available for public comment before the money is committed. It is particularly important now, with the state facing a fiscal crisis, that we insist on integrity of the member item process.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009-10 - S.5293 (Squadron) - Finance, A.1271 (Galef) - Ways and Means. A.7364 of 2007/2008 A.1740 of 2005/2006 A.6330 & S.7618 of 2003/2004 A.6806 & S.770 of 2001/2002 S.995 of 1999/2000 S.3807 of 1997/1998 S.3045 of 1995/1996 S.8381 of 1993/1994
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 49 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SQUADRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT to amend the state finance law, in relation to legislative addi- tions to the governor's proposed budget bills THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 53-e to read as follows: S 53-E. LEGISLATIVE ADDITIONS TO THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSED BUDGET BILLS. 1. IF THERE IS ANY ADDITION TO A GOVERNOR'S PROPOSED BUDGET BILL PROPOSED OR SPONSORED FOR INCLUSION IN SUCH BILL BY ANY INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF THE SENATE OR ASSEMBLY FOR PURPOSES OF FUNDING PROJECTS OR PROGRAMS WITHIN SUCH INDIVIDUAL MEMBER'S DISTRICT, THEN EACH INDIVIDUAL SENATOR SHALL BE ENTITLED TO AN EQUAL APPROPRIATION AS ANY OTHER SENATOR AND EACH INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF THE ASSEMBLY SHALL BE ENTITLED TO AN EQUAL APPROPRIATION AS ANY OTHER MEMBER OF THE ASSEMBLY. 2. THE SENATE FINANCE AND THE ASSEMBLY WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEES SHALL PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING FOR EACH PROPOSED ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATION AS DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION: THE FORMAL NAME OF THE PROGRAM; ITS SPONSORING GROUP; ITS FULL ADDRESS; ITS LEGISLATIVE SPONSOR OR SPONSORS; AND A DESCRIPTION OF AND JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PROGRAM. 3. THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE AND ASSEMBLY WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE SHALL ESTABLISH FURTHER RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A PROPOSED ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATION AS DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE STATE BUDGET. 4. ANY PROPOSED ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATION AS DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION MUST BE INCLUDED IN A BUDGET BILL AS A LINE-ITEM. 5. ANY MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE WHO SPONSORS ANY PROPOSED ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATION AS DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION MUST DISCLOSE WHETHER OR NOT THEY, OR ANY SPOUSE OR RELATIVE DEFINED INEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00168-01-1 S. 49 2
SECTION SEVENTY-THREE-A OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW, IS AN EMPLOYEE OR CONDUCTS BUSINESS WITH THE SPONSORING GROUP OR PROGRAM FOR WHICH THIS APPROPRIATION IS INTENDED. 6. ALL INFORMATION REQUIRED IN THIS SECTION MUST BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC AT A COST NOT TO EXCEED WHAT IS PROVIDED FOR IN ARTICLE SIX OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.