Sen. Little votes against budget, which passes

State Sen. Betty Little speaks Nov. 1 at the Saranac Lake village offices. (News photo — Aaron Cerbone)

State Sen. Betty Little voted against the state budget that was adopted Thursday, April 2 the state Legislature, saying lawmakers were kept in the dark as the spending plan and some unrelated policy changes were negotiated by a few leaders behind closed doors.

Little, R-Queensbury, is not running for reelection this fall. She has been in the Senate since 2002 and the state Assembly before that.

“The new state budget is nothing anyone should hang their hat on,” she said in a prepared statement. “It is an aspirational placeholder of funding that may be available depending on how long the pandemic persists, the resiliency of our economy bouncing back and whether or not federal relief aid becomes available for state and local governments.

“I voted against the budget because we knew too little too late. Because of the need to ‘socially distance,’ negotiations were entirely behind closed doors, and lawmakers and advocacy groups were severely limited in knowing and responding to what was happening. This is the situation we’re dealing with, and it isn’t a criticism of the governor and the legislative leaders. But I did not feel comfortable voting for something that I knew too little about, particularly the policy pieces that could be addressed later this year instead of in the budget.

“New York’s chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses is calling the new budget a missed opportunity to help those who we will rely most upon to rebuild the economy. Adoption of the budget must not mark the end of session. Our work isn’t done. We need to engage our businesses, large and small, and work with them to ease their burdens, giving them the best chance possible to come back strong. Their success is absolutely critical.”

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