SPECIAL BUDGET REPORT
BALCONY: A CONTRACT IS A CONTRACT IS A CONTRACT!
GOVERNOR PATERSON MUST NOT UNILATERALLY ACT IN BUDGET
By: Alan Lubin, Co- Chair BALCONY, BUSINESS AND LABOR COALITION OF NEW
future of New York State demands that a solid foundation of respect
exist between state government and its workforce. That respect cannot
exist if the public and private sector workers who retain state
contracts cannot count on those contracts being honored.
BALCONY understands the gravity of the budget deficit facing New York
State and that it must be addressed. However, for Governor Paterson to
unilaterally abrogate contract law is not only an inappropriate means
of trying to balance the budget it also sets a perilous precedent that
the New York State government cannot be taken at its word.
it sours the dialogue between the State and labor at a crucial juncture
when consensus and not divisiveness is necessary to prevent the fiscal
crisis from deepening while New Yorkers wait for a finalized budget. We
must find common ground.
his reasons, Governor Paterson's decision to bypass the Legislature and
withhold $2.1 billion from school districts, his decision to withhold
scheduled and collectively bargained pay raises from state employees,
and his decision to freeze all bridge and road construction, is the
wrong message to New Yorkers.
these cuts indicate that the Governor believes that progress and
safety, as well as New Yorker's education and health, are less
important than protecting Wall Street bonuses.
billions from education will almost certainly force property taxes to
skyrocket as school districts struggle to pay their immediate bills and
in many case will have to go deeper into debt which will certainly
deteriorate the quality and capacity of our schools.
freeze on Department of Transportation construction projects not only
forces contractors to abandon critical improvement on our roads,
highways and bridges leaving them half finished jeopardizes the safety
of all of us as well as putting more than 5,000 construction jobs
across New York at risk.
breaking his contact with labor by withholding the 4% scheduled pay
raises for unionized state workers deepens tensions between labor and
Albany. This gives the impression that Governor Paterson is beholden to
the interests of Big Business and the Business Council. He is willing
to cut into New York's most valuable, essential health care services
mental health programs, college classes, lottery funded scholarships,
motor vehicle licensing, insurance monitoring, road maintenance, and
state parks as a first resort, when it should be the last.
is totally unacceptable.
New York State work force is our most valuable resource. It not only
keeps our state moving forward but also keeps New York viable in the
broader context of national politics. From scientists to street
cleaners, our state workforce are the men and women who work every day
to ensure that New Yorkers have a decent quality of life today, and a
better quality of life tomorrow.
men and women are represented by BALCONY members like the General
Contractors Association of New York (GCANY), New York State United
Teachers (NYSUT), the Public Employees Federation (PEF), and the Civil
Service Employees Association (CSEA), all of whom are considering or
are currently engaged in lawsuits over Paterson's contract violations.
supports our members in their efforts to reverse what may well be a
watershed decision by our embattled governor, and we are confident that
the courts will recognize the supreme importance of government honoring
its contracts with state employees.
state budget must be negotiated in good faith at the bargaining table
between the Assembly, Senate and Governor.
posturing must stop, we must find common ground.
members are rallying to make their voices heard in Albany before the
final budget is set, arguing that slashing funding to essential
programs like education and health care is not the best, or the only,
way to solve the budget crisis.
Three BALCONY Members Go To Court To
Protest Budget Cuts
Association of New York Sues Governor Over Spending Freeze
On April 15th the General
Contractors Association of New York (GCANY), a BALCONY member,
officially filed a class-action lawsuit against the Paterson
Administration in an effort to recoup nearly $1 billion in promised
pay-outs to state contractors.
"We signed a contract. The contractual obligation is we do
work andthey pay us," said Denise Richardson, managing director of
the entire article: GCANY
NYSUT Resumes Lawsuit Challenging Paterson Embargo of
The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) are officially
moving forward with their lawsuit challenging Governor David Paterson's
March 30th decision to withhold $2.1 billion from local school
districts as part of his effort to close the $9.2 billion budget gap
facing New York State.
The suit was originally filed on December 16th, 2009 by a
broad coalition of education advocates and citizen taxpayers, and
claimed Paterson acted illegally and unconstitutionally by withholding
$750 million in state funds allocated by the legislature for school
governor may not agree with the Legislature's spending priorities and
may indeed have profound concerns about the results, but once he signed
the state budget in April and approved the deficit reduction plan, he
is constitutionally and legally bound to follow the law," said
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi.
Read the entire article: NYSUT
GOVERNOR PATERSON WITHHOLDS SCHEDULED PAY RAISES FROM
STATE EMPLOYEES, BALCONY MEMBERS RESPOND
Public Employees Federation
PEF is protesting Governor Paterson's decision to withhold
scheduled pay raises from state employees. In a new series of ads
the union suggests alternative ways to address the budget gap including
reducing the number of consultants the state hires, expanding the
voluntary severance program, reducing overtime by hiring more people,
and instituting a workplace injury reduction program.
PEF President Kenneth Brynien stated, "If the
governor withholds state employee raises, that is a violation of our
"PEF will hold the state accountable."
"The governor, himself, has said breaking our
contract is illegal."
"We will take every action necessary to ensure our
members get their negotiated raises."
"I met with the governor yesterday to discuss the
financial problems the state is facing and we agreed to have further
discussions. We reminded the governor of PEF's solutions to help close
the budget deficit, including the millions in savings to be realized by
replacing high-cost consultants with lower-cost state employees."
Civil Service Employees Association
Last week CSEA filed a formal grievance with the
Governor's Office of Employee Relations. The action is the
appropriate starting place to challenge the governor's delaying action
and does not preclude additional legal response.
Here is the
statement from CSEA President Dan Donohue:
"Gov. David Paterson's unilateral delay of a fairly
negotiated raise for CSEA represented state employees is wrong and the
governor knows it. It will leave CSEA with little choice in our course
of action moving forward."
"What makes it even worse is that the governor met
with CSEA and PEF officials yesterday and has now immediately moved
"The Paterson administration continues to careen from
crisis to crisis without any comprehensive plan to address the state's
financial mess with a coordinated strategy. It is more evidence of his
"CSEA members continue to do their best to serve the
people of New York under deteriorating conditions and they deserve
better than what the governor is putting forward."
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BALCONY MEMBERS TAKE TO THE STREETS and AIRWAVES IN
BATTLE FOR THE BUDGET
Governor's budget proposing millions of dollars of cuts across the
board, representatives of labor, business, and special interest groups
have decided to fight back with ads, rallies, and literature urging
their customers/members to call the Legislature and tell them to say no
to the proposed cuts. Many of these groups have recently launched
television ad campaigns including several of BALCONY's own members.
encourages you to view our member's ads posted below.
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York State United Teachers (NYSUT) K-12 Education Ad Campaign: State
mobilized a multi-faceted campaign aimed at preventing proposed budget
cuts to education. In addition to their television ad campaign
NYSUT has organized rallies, petitions, and most recently a "Day
of Action" on March 4th where parents, students, educators and
community and school board members across New York state turned out to
tell lawmakers they must reject Governor Paterson's proposed $1.4
billion cut to public education funding. Below are the two ads that
NYSUT has begun running on the proposed cuts.
Click image to view
Click image to view
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UUP, the United University Professionals, has launched a
campaign of their own aimed at increasing public awareness with regards
to proposed cuts to New York's public higher education. Click
below to view their ad.
Click image to view UUP ad
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New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)
Under-funded = Under-staffed Campaign
Outraged by the
proposed cuts to healthcare, NYSNA kicked off a campaign to send a loud
and clear message to Albany that budget cuts to health care are
unacceptable. Below is their first television ad.
Click image to view Nurses' ad
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Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Budget Fight
began running radio ads protesting the budget cuts as early as January
of 2010. Their new television ad series includes three ads all
titled "Budget Fight," that focus on civil service employees
expressing their discontent with the Governor's budget.
Click image to view
CSEA Budget Fight
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Public Employees Federation (PEF) Budget Cuts Hurt
PEF's website includes a link to their "State Budget
Solutions," which include instituting a consultant reduction plan,
expanding the voluntary severance program, hiring entry level employees
to reduce overtime expenses, and instituting a workplace injury
reduction program. Along with these proposed solutions PEF has
created a series of literature and commercials that express the union's
anger over cuts to the state work force.
image for Budget Cuts Hurt 2
It's NOT Rocket Science
click image to view
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American Cancer Society (ACS)
Don't Leave NY Women Exposed! No More Cuts to Cancer Screenings, Access
to Health Care 101/201, and MIKE-E Ellison on covering the
The American Cancer Society has launched a campaign in
response to proposed cuts to cancer screenings in New York.
Click image to view ACS ad
Below are links to ACS' campaign in support of expanding
and protecting access to health care. for the underinsured and
Health Care 101
ACS partnered with poet and musician "MIKE-E"
Ellison for the following access to health care ad.
Click the image to view the video
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Click the image to view the video
April 16th, for the third time this month, Governor David Paterson
issued an emergency budget extender in the absence of a finalized
state budget. It has been more than two weeks since the
deadline to pass the New York State budget 2010/2011 and, far from
seeming close to a resolution, Albany appears to be embroiled in a
game of political "hot potato." New York is still
facing a $9.2 billion budget deficit, a huge gap that Governor
Paterson insists requires making painful cuts across the board,
including reductions in funding for education, health care, and human
services. At the same time, the Governor has embraced the
recommendation by New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness and others to
impose greater taxes and fees on items like cigarettes and soda;
however, the administration remains opposed to their recommendation
to tax Wall Street bonuses and stock transfers.
Legislature stalemated, Governor Paterson has made a series of
unilateral cuts to fund his budget extenders. Those cuts include
$2.1 billion to education as well as the freezing of all road and
bridge work across the state and a freeze on scheduled pay raises for
state employees. These cuts have drawn sharp criticism from
representatives of labor as well as the Legislature among
others. Both the Senate and the Assembly's budget resolutions
(released March 22nd and March 24th respectively) rejected many of
the Governor's proposed cuts and offer their own solutions for
boosting revenue and cutting costs.
An increasingly popular plan to balance the budget and bring fiscal
discipline to Albany was introduced on March 10th by Lieutenant
Governor Richard Ravitch. The Ravitch Plan has been endorsed by
the New York Times and pieces of it have been appropriated by both
the Senate and Assembly Resolutions. The five year plan calls
for a $6 billion debt package to cover New York's expense items, the
creation of an independent financial review board, and a later
beginning to the fiscal year amongst other
As in the past, BALCONY is committed to diligently monitoring the
budget battle in Albany. In the interest of fostering lucid and
productive debate within the business and labor communities regarding
the current budget crisis BALCONY has, and will continue to, make
every effort to keep our members and visitors updated with the latest
news and developments from across the state.
FINALIZE THE STATE BUDGET
January 19, 2010
BUDGET PLAN FOR FISCAL YEAR 2010/2011 is released.
Click here for the full BUDGET
March 10, 2010
RAVITCH 5-YEAR BUDGET PLAN
Another important proposal that seeks to close the
budget gap came from Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch. On
March 10th, 2010 the Lieutenant Governor released a five-year plan
with recommendations for revisions to the state budget system in order
to address New York State's enormous budget deficit. The plan
would create an independent financial review board that would allow
the governor to cut spending to balance the budget without approval
from the legislature. The plan also suggests borrowing up to $2
billion a year for the next three years to cover the deficit.
We at BALCONY strongly urge you to read the plan. BALCONY has
yet to take an official position on the Lieutenant Governor's
recommendations. To read the full five-year plan to address the New York State Budget Deficit please follow this link: Ravitch
March 22, 2010
NYS SENATE PASSES BUDGET RESOLUTION
Click here to read the full budget resolution
State Senator John Sampson
On Monday, March 22nd the NYS Senate passed their budget
resolution. It closely mirrored the Governor's budget proposal
(released in January) in terms of the major cuts to areas like
education although it did restore some of the reductions the Governor
had called for. The Senate rejected most of the Governor's
revenue building proposals, including the proposed sugar-drink tax
and raising taxes on cigarettes.
March 24, 2010
NYS ASSEMBLY ARRIVE AT BUDGET RESOLUTION
Summary OF SFY
2010-11 Assembly One-House Proposals
Speaker Sheldon Silver
On Wednesday, March 24, the Assembly passed their own
budget resolution. The Assembly rejected some of Governor
Paterson's proposed cuts to education and draws on Lt. Governor
Ravitch's plan to borrow up to $6 billion over the next three years
as a means to close the budget gap.
April 5, 2010
DINAPOLI: STOP PLAYING GAMES WITH STATE DEFICIT
the office of the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
Highlights Decade of Complex Transactions to Mask State's Real Fiscal
Condition, Identifies Hundreds of Swept Funds
Click here for the full REPORT
New York State has masked budget
deficits and spending growth for more than a decade by shuffling
money between accounts, off-loading operational spending to dedicated
funds and borrowing, according to a report released by State
Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
NEW YORKERS FOR FISCAL FAIRNESS PLAN
The Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI), a nonpartisan
research and education organization, recently came up with a 26 point
program to close the budget gap by increasing revenue and cutting
costs in conjunction with New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness and other
members of the Better Choice Budget Campaign - a program they
presented at BALCONY's recent members meeting on February 4th, 2009
in Albany. The recommendations include:
· Closing loopholes that allow large corporations
to avoid paying their fair share of state
· Reducing the amount of state work
that is privately contracted, lowering prescription drug prices,
instituting a plastic bag tax.
· Curtailing rising obesity
· Making economic development tax
credit programs more accountable and allowing the Empire Zones
Program to expire.
· FPI also recommends temporarily
reducing the stock transfer tax rebate to 80%, which would force Wall
Street to help the state through the current economic downturn.
BALCONY has yet to take an official position on FPI's
recommendations but applaud their energy and efforts and encourage
our members and visitors to read FPI's full report by following this
Also, check out the Better Choice Budget Campaign FACT SHEET.
Business Resource Fair
Co-Sponsored by BALCONY
Thursday May 6th, 2010
8:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m.
Madison Square Garden, NYC
Expert panels provided by an alliance of federal, state and local
agencies, as well as, small, medium size and major corporations,
business assistance groups, local chambers of commerce, all
designed to help small business and entrepreneurs operate more
profitably and efficiently.
For details, click here: NY Chamber
A Time for Change
An International Health Care Conference
BALCONY is a sponsor of the
international health care conference
Restructuring America's Health Care
May 11-12 in New York City
Designed for health care practitioners, management and labor
leaders, researchers and policymakers, the event is being organized
by Cornell University's ILR School.
Click here for more information: Cornell
BALCONY NEW YORK
633 Third Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Lou Gordon - BALCONY Director
BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York,
represents more than 1,000 New York businesses, labor unions,
and trade associations.
BALCONY seeks common ground in the public policy debate
in New York to spur economic development through the adoption of
business/union friendly, socially responsible common sense laws that
maintain and improve the quality of life for working New Yorkers.
Editor: Nicholas Kapustinsky