January 21, 2020
From State Senator Tom O’Mara:
“Governor Cuomo once again had a perfect stage to highlight the new ‘No Bail’ law as the public safety danger that it is and call for or take immediate action to ensure that New Yorkers throughout this state are no longer threatened by a bad law,” said O’Mara. “Instead, Governor Cuomo paid lip service to maybe acting on changes sometime in the future. We should be acting today to put a stop to this madness. Not a day goes by without another story of another dangerous criminal being set free and or another repeat offender causing another death or another violent tragedy.”
From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano:
“The governor’s budget proposal should be of concern to all the residents of New York State, particularly Upstate. The governor is laying the groundwork for big property tax hikes on families, seniors, farmers, small businesses and manufacturers with his plan to have local governments assume all local Medicaid growth costs over 3%. He is completely disingenuous to say local governments have any control over the Medicaid program. It is Gov. Cuomo and the state that has expanded Medicaid eligibility and benefits over the years, not local governments. The state controls the program, not local governments. We should not be balancing the budget on the backs of local property taxpayers. The governor boasted about a $51 billion, 5- Year MTA Capital Plan for downstate but refused to prioritize a similar 5- Year DOT Capital Plan for Upstate, as has been past practice. Gov. Cuomo proposed an unacceptable and insulting $11.9 billion, 2-Year Capital Plan that would keep, if enacted, critical funding for local roads and bridges through the vital and successful Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) flat for the eighth consecutive year. He adds further insult to injury by actually cutting the $65 million Extreme Winter Recovery Program, funding that goes directly to local governments to help them repair local roads and bridges damaged during the winter. Although the governor talked briefly about addressing the problems with bail reform, he has failed to recognize that we should first start with repealing these dangerous and costly bail and discovery laws he created so we can protect the public from violent and dangerous criminals. As budget hearings and negotiations begin, I’ll be fighting for fairness between the downstate MTA and Upstate DOT Capital Plans, including critical funding for our local roads and bridges. I’ll be fighting against the governor’s misguided attempts to punish property taxpayers for his inability to manage the state’s Medicaid program. I’ll be fighting to make sure the governor and legislature understand that addressing the public safety crisis we are currently facing is an important priority that demands action now.”
From State Senator George Borrello:
New York began 2020 by learning that our state ranked number one in population loss over the past 10 years. Those losses were the steepest in upstate New York, which had no increase in jobs, even amid a booming national economy and nationwide job growth of 1.4 percent. Through that lens, making our state more affordable for both residents and businesses is crucial if we are to reverse this trend. Towards that end, I was encouraged to hear support for the next phase of the historic middle class tax cuts that were spearheaded by Senate Republicans three years ago and that are scheduled to drop again in 2020. Similarly, a tax cut for small businesses is long overdue, so I am very supportive of the Governor’s proposed cut in the corporate tax rate for small businesses, from 6.5 percent to four percent. Last week, the State Comptroller announced that audits revealed overpayments, unnecessary payments and collecting rebates from drug makers could produce nearly $800 million in savings in the Medicaid program. Yet, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how we can cut Medicaid costs. He also noted that the state is losing billions to ‘waste, fraud and abuse.’
“As a former county official, I found it insulting that the Governor pointed the finger for rising Medicaid costs at local governments who he claimed simply take a ‘blank check’ from the state and do not work hard to find efficiencies. The reality is that local governments do a much better job at managing their budgets because they have to: ever-increasing unfunded mandates from the state require the highest level of precision budgeting and prudent spending.
“I also found the Governor’s claim that it is a ‘remarkable achievement’ that nearly a third of our population is on Medicaid to be alarming. As state leaders, we should want our citizens to be financially secure and independent. Those programs were originally intended to be a safety net, not a way of life.
“Reinstituting the Medicaid Redesign Team, as the Governor has proposed, could be a positive step in tackling this problem. However, without more details, it is difficult to predict how much success this will produce. I truly believe that in order for any cost-cutting measures to be effective, the state has to be willing to give local governments more flexibility on the regulatory side and tougher with those who abuse the system.
“In the coming days, my Senate Republican colleagues and I will be taking a closer look at the details of the Executive Budget and putting forth our own budget aimed at making New York more affordable for struggling, middle-class New Yorkers and businesses, so they can thrive and not just survive.
“However, the most pressing priority for our Conference is repealing the disastrous bail ‘reforms’ that are making New York more dangerous by the day. The Governor’s lack of urgency or ideas on how to correct this terrible mistake indicates that he is completely out of touch with everyday New Yorkers who are frightened and outraged by this situation.”