Gov. Andrew Cuomo today defended the closed-door budget negotiations, saying “just because something is done behind closed doors doesn’t mean the process isn’t transparent.”
He said he and legislative leaders have made their budget positions know publicly, and they need to meet privately to hash out the details.
“Just because something is done behind closed doors doesn’t mean the process isn’t transparent,” Cuomo told reporters today. “You can’t do everything in the public view always and have frank, candid meaningful conversations.”
Cuomo said the alternative was what recent governors had done: Hold public leaders’ meetings. Govs. George Pataki and David Paterson held them, and they were widely panned as ineffective.
“It was a silly theater that accomplished virtually nothing with leaders reading a scripted statement and then everybody looking at everyone,” Cuomo said. “That didn’t work. This is a transparent process. You know my positions. You know the Senate’s positions. You know the Assembly’s positions.”
Governors and the Legislature have long been criticized for reaching budget agreements behind closed doors, known as “three men in a room.” Now it’s four men with the addition of the Independent Democratic Conference sharing power with Republicans in the Senate.
In recent years, the Legislature added budget conference committees to have a more open process, and the first ones were held today.
But often times they are scrapped in the final days of the budget talks as the sides scramble to reach a budget deal before the fiscal year starts April 1.