Monday, November 9, 2009

Gov. seeks action on deficit-reduction and other legislative priorities

It’s not only the governor’s two-year, $5.2 billion deficit reduction plan that lawmakers will be asked to consider tomorrow. Proposals to make same-sex marriage legal and to cap government spending are among eight other items on Gov. David A. Paterson’s agenda for the extraordinary session.

The governor is expected to address the Legislature in a joint session today at 3 in the Assembly Chamber to outline some of his proposals.

“The time to act is now,” Paterson said last week when he announced the session. “The deficit reduction plan, while painful, is necessary to keep our state afloat.”

Also on Paterson’s agendas is a proposed cap on annual government spending and a circuit breaker bill that would place a ceiling on property owners’ school tax bills based on a percentage of their incomes.

Providing property tax relief through local government efficiency is another way the governor proposes to bring about economic stability.

The governor is also hoping the Senate will take action on his bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The Assembly passed the legislation earlier in the year.

New York’s chief executive wants lawmakers to act on bills that would increase penalties for those found guilty of alcohol- and drug-related driving crimes, especially those involving children. In addition to beefing up punishments for those who put a child’s life at risk, the governor would like to increase the court’s ability to require those convicted of DWI to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

Increasing transparency and accountability for state authorities buy establishing an independent authorities budget office is yet another measure Paterson is hoping the Legislature will act on.

Another piece of the governor’s legislative agenda is a proposal to eliminate a statutory inconsistency that allows some serious felons to be eligible for parole or medical parole earlier than intended.

The creation of a new Tier 5 in the state pension system for certain newly hired state and local government employees, and establishing a sustainable energy loan program to help property owners install renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements are among other plans the governor wants the Legislature to adopt.

Although the governor can call the Legislature into session, he cannot force them to take a vote on any piece of legislation.

A live webcast of Paterson’s 3 p.m. address to the Legislature today can be viewed by visiting:

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