Stateline Story

Voters Reject Budget Reform, Approve Transit Bonds

New York voters soundly rejected a measure that would have substantially altered the state's budget process, shifting authority from the governor to the Legislature, but approved a bond that will finance statewide transportation projects.

The controversial budget proposal-opposed by Gov. George Pataki and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer—would have amended the state Constitution, creating an Independent Budget Office with members appointed by the Legislature. It also called for a contingency budget based on the previous year that would have gone into effect if the Legislature and governor could not agree on a budget by the beginning of the fiscal year.

The much less contentious transit bond proposal will allow the state to borrow $2.9 billion to purchase and repair subways, trains, buses, highways and bridges throughout the state. The new debt will be repaid out of the state's general revenues over several decades. A similar bond measure for $3.9 billion was rejected by voters in 2000.

Election Results

Proposition One-Budget Reform Measure: Yes—689,264 (36 percent); No—1,251,703 (64 percent)

Proposal Two-Transit Bonds: Yes—1,092,897 (55 percent); No—886,867 (45 percent)