Budget geekery begins

By Curtis Riboflavin

Published January 19th, 2015

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2015-16  executive budget proposal was still weeks away from being introduced but Cross Yernsen was already stoked.

“I can’t wait,” the 27-year-old Poughkeepsie native said, gazing at a copy of last year’s spending plan. “Budget season is awesome.”

To most New Yorkers, the budget process is an important but extremely boring process that does not merit conversation beyond what is needed.


Don’t tell Yernsen that, though.  The fiscal blueprint fanatic and his roommate,  a man identified only as “Weird Randy,” have been clamoring for Cuomo’s proposed budget to be released since the 2014-15 budget was enacted.

Asked how he feels about the budget, Randy smiled and asked a Smudge reporter if he  “liked people named Randy.”

“It’s not just the budget per se,” Yernsen said loudly during an interview in a crowded food court at Crossgates Mall.  “It’s the nooks and crannies that go along with her. When I hear words like ‘fiscal outlook’ and ‘innovative action’ and ‘temporary assessment’ I quiver. I really do. And I know I’m not alone.”

He’s not.

At the state University at Albany, Jock Discus, a senior, cannot wait until lawmakers begin debating the budget.

“Are you ready for some budget? I plead guilty,” the 6-5, 327-pound Long Islander told the Smudge. “The budget is a like a lake of fun. I am going to dive right in.”

Added French Masterson, a chef from Delmar: “Budget time is a happy time.  So much debate. So many fiscal discussions. I can’t wait until the Senate and the Assembly each put out their own plan. Oh baby. That’ll be the topic at my dinner table all spring. And it’s gonna be delicious.”

Others are not so sure.

“Who gives a crap?” said Myron Stew, a budget analyst from Malta. “This is the most boring subject anybody could talk about. I’d rather talk about raw sewage.”