Three budget bills are being printed, and they offer expanded power for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
If approved, Cuomo would win the authority to forgo pre-auditing by the state Comptroller for contracts and purchase orders through the state Office of General Services. Cuomo is seeking to consolidate purchasing orders and speed up their approval, but Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has warned about the lack of checks and balances if the proposal is adopted.
Updated: Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli doesn’t agree with the pre-audit move.
“It is a mistake to erode this independent oversight,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Eliminating review of contracts potentially worth over billions of dollars undermines the accountability and transparency New York taxpayers deserve. Checks and balances are essential to fiscal responsibility.”
There are a bunch of other language changes that would give Cuomo more authority over policy and budgeting through consolidating functions or eliminating advisory boards within some agencies. Here’s some of them:
A state Gaming Commission would be set up to oversee the state lottery, horse racing and video lottery casinos. The governor would appoint five of the seven members. The majorities in the Legislature get one appointment each.
A New York Works Task Force would consist of 15 members — nine appointed by the governor, who would also pick an executive director.
A social-services advisory committee would be eliminated from the law. The agency commissioner would have the authority to provide state grants to not-for-profit legal services corporations and not-for-profit agencies serving the disabled.
The DEC commissioner, not a board, would map freshwater wetlands in the Adirondack Park.
The DEC commissioner would also set regulations for the identification of hazardous waste materials, not an environmental board — something that could be an issue if hydrofracking gets underway.
A Home Inspection Council would be eliminated.
The governor would authorize, through the state’s disaster preparedness commission, the oversight of a local disaster operation.