Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay is exhausted.
He told Capital Tonight over Skype that he was up until 5:30 a.m., presumably finishing up the budget and other legislative business.
“I always think that the process for New York budgets have been terrible,” he said. “It’s usually three men in a room, and not a lot of transparency. We thought it might be different this year since we are facing this public health crisis, but it wasn’t.”
He’s not the only one to complain about this year’s lack of transparency. Senator Jim Tedisco told WRGB, “We went from three men in a room to three men in a Zoom”.
Barclay was unhappy with the substance of the budget as well, especially the inclusion of public campaign financing, bail reform, and the legalization of gestational surrogacy.
“I don’t think it’s good public policy for New Yorkers,” he said.
“What we really should have done, what I would have preferred and what my conference would have preferred is, if we just did a bare-bones budget,” Barclay explained. “Let’s try to get through this crisis, go for two more months and we can come back and reevaluate.”
When asked if he and his conference were planning to return to Albany after the two-week break, Barclay said no.
“My understanding is that there’s no plans to do that right now. We may have too. Obviously, a lot of things happen in government that need legislative attention, so we’ll see how it goes,” said Barclay.
“We gave the governor in this budget process a tremendous amount of power to unilaterally change the budget numbers as we go forward so it’ll be a question of what the legislature wants – what kind of input we need and what kind of issues come up that need to be addressed, legislatively. But as of right now, there’s no plans to come back," he said.