Trust and Accountability in Government

Government must work for our democracy to work. We have to earn the public’s trust each and every day to show that government can be efficient, effective, and functional. Building that trust begins with transparency and accountability, as well as a willingness to acknowledge where our aspirations fall short and how we can commit to building and improving public institutions to deliver public goods. 

 


Holding the MTA accountable to riders

Transit riders in every borough should have a direct vote on the MTA Board so that the billions of dollars spent on mass transit will go to service improvements and not wasteful spending. We shouldn’t be spending tens of millions of dollars putting fancy lights on the Kosciuszko Bridge while our stations are crumbling and our signal system is more than 100 years old. I have introduced legislation that would give riders a vote and a voice. 

 

Pass the “Truth in Budgeting Act” to improve property tax transparency

One way that the property tax system keeps hurting working families is because the system is so complex and convoluted, no one can quite understand how or why their taxes continue to go up year after year even when their home values remain stable. My “Truth in Budgeting Act” would require New York City to plainly and clearly explain how the city calculates an individual’s property tax and, more importantly, spell out in detail when their effective tax rates grow by more than 2% in a year. 

 

Reforming New York’s Budget Process

The New York Legislature is not an equal partner with the Governor when it comes to crafting and passing the annual budget. The state constitution states that: (1) the governor must submit a budget to the legislature and can include policy proposals related to budget revenues and expenditures; (2) the text of the actual budget bills are submitted by the governor to legislature; and (3) the legislature cannot amend the budget bills submitted by the governor, except to eliminate or reduce a proposed spending item. And thanks to a pair of Court of Appeals decisions known collectively as ‘Silver v. Pataki’, since 2004 the governor has increased authority to line-item veto any changes that the legislature makes to the budget that exceed the parameters of Article VII, Section 4.

 

This system gives the Governor extraordinary powers to control the state’s budget, making it harder for the Legislature to play a role and seeking greater accountability in how we allocate and spend our state tax dollars. I am committed to reforming the state’s budget process so that the people’s representatives have an equal say in what we budget for. 


Read more of my thoughts on the state budget here.