January 19, 2021
From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano:
“Our state is facing an unprecedented and challenging fiscal situation due to the economic devastation caused by COVID -19 coupled with the governor’s mandated shutdowns, closures and restrictions. We are facing an immediate $15 billion budget deficit and a projected $39 billion budget deficit over the next four years. Unfortunately, instead of laying out a detailed plan to help our state recover, rebuild and move forward, the governor spent most of his time pointing fingers and blame at the federal government. This is not going to address the challenges we face. Although we need, and I support, state and federal aid for state and local governments because of the devastating impact COVID-19 has created, we must be realistic about our expectations and plan and act accordingly. It’s also important to keep in mind that we faced a $6 billion Budget deficit before COVID-19 arrived. As I said before and will continue to say and advocate, it is critically important that the governor and Legislature work together to take bold, broad and aggressive action to open up our state’s economy and provide much-needed assistance and relief for the many small businesses, farmers, manufacturers, workers and families who have been crushed by the state-mandated COVID-19 closures, shutdowns and restrictions. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we work together to take significant action to encourage more economic development and private-sector investment in order to foster more job creation and tax revenues so we can address and fund our state’s important priorities.
“Today, we saw finger-pointing and blame. With so much uncertainty and concern facing families, workers and small businesses across our state, they expect us to work together to make the difficult decisions needed to put forth a fiscally responsible budget so we can, together, move forward, to recover, rebuild and jump-start our economy and state.”
From State Senator Tom O’Mara:
O’Mara, the newly appointed Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today warned that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2021-2022 proposed state budget charts a course for New York that could leave a future generation of state and local taxpayers holding the bill for a questionable agenda of overspending. O’Mara cautioned that the Cuomo budget proposal released at the Capitol today sets the stage for a final budget that could significantly increase short- and long-term state government spending, even with New York currently facing an estimated $15-billion deficit and potentially larger shortfalls over the next several years, could add billions of dollars to a state debt burden that is already one of the nation’s highest, and risks additional costs for already overburdened counties and local property taxpayers.
The governor unveiled a roughly $193-billion proposed spending plan for the state’s new fiscal year beginning April 1. To fully close the current $15-billion gap in state finances, Cuomo is counting on New York receiving $15 billion in funding in the next federal COVID-19 stimulus package. If New York does receive what the administration calls a “best case” scenario from the feds, Cuomo said the state will move forward with a 2021-2022 budget plan that O’Mara said calls for significantly higher state spending for the foreseeable future.
Cuomo also said that he would sue the federal government if the state doesn’t receive its “fair share” of $15 billion.
O’Mara said, “Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget is not New York tough, it is New York weak. It lacks specifics. It leaves us fully dependent and waiting on the federal government when there are long-overdue steps that we could and should be taking to start turning this state around. I’m all for fighting for New York State’s fair share from Washington. But even if we fight as hard as we can and win, does that mean the next step is for New York State government to rush out and spend it all? Does it make sense, when New York State was already overspending and overtaxing even before COVID-19, to call for even more spending and more borrowing that everyone knows will sooner or later require higher taxes? Wouldn’t it be wiser to take a well-earned step back this year, take care of the state’s fundamental responsibilities, fully assess what we’re facing, set strict priorities for where we need to go, restorer rainy day funds, and exercise some long-overdue fiscal restraint and responsibility? Instead, Governor Cuomo’s ‘victory’ over the federal government would be celebrated with billions upon billions of dollars of short- and long-term new spending and borrowing and that’s before he sits down to negotiate with the leaders of a State Legislature who will not hesitate to spend more and raise taxes even higher to pay for it. We are staring at another year of ignoring the fiscal warning signs and throwing caution to the wind at the worst possible time instead of re-setting the dangerous direction New York State keeps heading. Under Governor Cuomo’s plan, future state and local taxpayers could simply be left footing an outrageous bill for this governor’s and this Legislature’s overspending and overtaxing.”
O’Mara said that he would keep working with his legislative colleagues across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions to keep attention focused on unfunded state mandates, job-killing state regulations, out-of-control debt, and a state tax burden that hurts family budgets and keeps New York’s business climate one of the worst in the nation.
He said that the next step in this year’s budget adoption process is for state legislators, local leaders and the public to begin analyzing the details of the new Cuomo plan and assessing its impact on specific programs and services.
Full details on the governor’s budget proposal will be available on the state Division of the Budget (DOB) website, www.budget.ny.gov.
The Legislature’s fiscal committees – the Finance Committee in the Senate, and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee – will soon begin a series of public hearings on the Cuomo plan.
O’Mara, in his new role as the top Republican member on the Finance Committee, looks forward to helping preside over the upcoming hearings.
“Senate Republicans will continue to be a voice for lower taxes, less regulation, greater accountability, economic growth, job creation, and more common sense on state fiscal practices. The next state budget could have a transformational impact on so many of the key issues facing our localities, from the future of farming and manufacturing to tax relief, regulatory reform, overall Upstate job creation, health care, education, and so much more. I welcome the opportunity, at this critical time, for direct input on a range of policy areas that will decide the short- and long-term future and strength of our local communities and economies,” said O’Mara, who represents the 58th Senate District is comprised of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates counties, and a part of Tompkins County (the city and town of Ithaca, and the towns of Enfield, Newfield, and Ulysses).