The conviction of a former close aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo last month did not lead to any response in the approved state budget -- much to the chagrin of good-government advocates and fiscal watchdogs.
"You would think that the governor would be literally tripping over himself to put some accountability measures and some transparency measures in place in order to show that he's doing something about this corruption in Albany," said Ron Deutsch with the Fiscal Policy Institute.
Joe Percoco was convicted of taking bribes and using his influence to direct government contracts to politically connected developers. Reformers have been pushing legislation that would restore oversight power to the state comptroller and create an online database tracking economic development spending.
"The database would have provided some oversight so that individuals could see how exactly specific projects were progressing and whether taxpayers were getting a good return on that investment," said David Friedfel of the Citizens Budget Commission. "As far as oversight, any additional oversight would reduce the likelihood of malfeasance in the future."
The proposals had been supported by the Assembly and Senate, but were never fully embraced by Cuomo.
"It's institutional," said NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner. "It's really the executive branch against the legislative branch. It's not a partisan issue."
And while the budget contained no response to corruption in Albany, it did include the possibility of a future pay raise for lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate. Cuomo insisted the pay raise be linked to an on-time budget. The spending plan was approved before the start of the new fiscal year on April 1.
"It shouldn't be connected to performance at all," Horner said. "Performance is in the eye of the beholder, and ultimately, the performance of the legislative branch and the executive elected officials is to be decided by the voters."
But Cuomo insists a pay increase should be considered for both the executive and legislative branches, saying the lack of salary hikes has it made it difficult to recruit top talent.
"I think that there's no doubt that it hurts the competitiveness of people in those positions," the governor said.
The pay commission is expected to make a determination after Election Day and take effect in January.