(The Center Square) — A coalition of good government groups calls on New York lawmakers to reject Gov. Kathy Hochul's budget proposals that would expand her control of state spending.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and House Speaker Carl Heastie, the coalition urged legislative budget writers to reject several provisions in the budget they said would give the governor's office "broad, unilateral spending and borrowing authorities that are unnecessary and fiscally risky."

Most of the oversight policies were enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic, they wrote, when broad spending, budget management, and borrowing authorities "gave the governor the needed authority and flexibility to manage a historic public health emergency and dire fiscal situation."

"Nearly four years later, the situation is vastly different," they wrote. "These controls are no longer necessary. Enacting them would give the Governor unchecked authority to transfer, spend, or issue debt backed by public dollars."

Specifically, the groups called on lawmakers to reject the governor’s permanent authority to issue up to $4 billion in short-term revenue anticipation notes, a $1 billion transfer from the General Fund to the “Health Care Transformation Account" unless its uses are more clearly defined in appropriations and provisions added to individual appropriations that remove competitive bidding requirements, among other demands.

The coalition, including the Citizens Budget Commission, Common Cause New York, the Empire Center for Public Policy and the New York Public Interest Research Group, also called on legislative leaders to reject a proposal limiting the state Comptroller's ability to review bond transactions.

"Back-loading principal payments can lead to ballooning future debt service costs and violate the principle of intergenerational fiscal equity; that is why State law requires a level or declining debt service schedule for some state debts," they wrote. "It is important that the comptroller retains the authority to evaluate all state-supported bond sales on all essential and mandated criteria, such as this."

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli raised similar concerns about Hochul's budget proposal, issuing a report saying the policy changes would "significantly curtail" his office's oversight of bond transactions and expand the executive’s "extraordinary" powers.

DiNapoli said the changes "would inevitably lead to bond structuring decisions that will increase costs to state taxpayers over the long run."

Hochul filed her preliminary $223 billion budget in January, which included more money for migrant costs, education, health care and criminal justice in addition to expanding the authority of her office over financial matters.

Legislative budget writers are expected to release their version of the spending plan. The deadline for adopting a state budget is April 1.

Latest Viral TikTok Trend Takes Funny Look at Life in the Adirondacks

We recently came across a viral video that took a lighthearted and fun approach to "Life in the ADKS." It's been circulating for weeks and we think it's worth sharing!

Is life in the Adirondacks all that different from life in say, Albany, Schenectady, or Saratoga Springs? We say, "Yes!"

Even though most cities in the Capital Region are less than an hour away, anyone who's spent a decent amount of time in the North Country knows that certain conveniences that many might take for granted, don't exist throughout the 5,000 square miles of dense forest and high peaks that comprise the mighty ADKS.

So whether you're from Halfmoon or Hague; from Troy or Ticonderoga, you should be able to relate to a viral video that takes a humorous and poignant approach to "Life in the Adirondacks."

Here are a few of our favorites - and you can check out the full video below.

Gallery Credit: Brian Cody TSM Albany

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