For Immediate Release:
Contact: Susan Lerner (Common Cause NY) 917-670-5670,
Barbara Bartoletti (League of Women Voters of New York) (518) 469-8905,
Russ Haven (NYPIRG) 518 436-0876
December 7, 2011
Civic Groups React to Legislative Agreement
Groups Call for greater public participation, and an end to backroom dealing
The announcement today of leadership's agreement on a proposal to revise the state's tax code responds to the call by many to make tax policy fairer. However, the process by which the deal was struck is a continuation of the backdoor-deal making that has defined Albany culture. It is important that the people's business - particularly policies that will directly impact the taxpayers and the economic health of this state - be conducted in the open.
The public should have an opportunity to learn of, and comment on, such important fiscal and policy matters, not simply be informed after the fact. Matters of this magnitude should not be decided in secret, during the legislative hiatus and without a formal process. Each of these important issues should be the subject of hearings and public discussions, with sufficient time for the public to understand and comment on what may be proposed or under consideration. These concerns are underscored as these issues have not been the subject of recent hearings and the substance of today's announcement has not been previously vetted through the formal legislative process. Accordingly, the tax code should not be hustled through a special session, where these crucial matters are debated in closed conferences and then voted on the next day.
We hope the Legislative Leaders and the Governor will employ the tenets of open democracy in future proceedings.
Office: Common Cause New York
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.