Upstate GOP Lawmakers Reaction To The Budget

April 8, 2021

From Senator Tom O’Mara:

“This Albany Democrat giveaway goes far beyond any reasonable sense of fairness, responsibility, or sustainability for hard-working, taxpaying citizens. Governor Cuomo and the legislative Democrat supermajorities are enacting an outrageous tax-and-spend plan that will force future generations of taxpayers to foot an enormous bill because the far-left, extremely liberal, largely New York City-based wing of the Democratic party is in control of the agenda and pushing for a wish list that leads to a fiscal and economic train wreck. This budget sets New York loose on an irresponsible, radical, out-of-control state government spending spree by blowing through a one-time federal windfall and then hoping to pay for a future of unsustainable spending with higher and higher taxes. In a state long known as one of the most highest-taxed, highest-spending states in America, this Albany Democrat vision for New York sets a new standard of recklessness. A new taxpayer-financed fund to deliver lump-sum payments to illegal immigrants is the latest example of just how out of touch it’s become.”

From Senator George Borrello:

“As New Yorkers look forward with hope after a year dominated by the pandemic’s horrific toll on our people and our economy, our state needed a budget that would serve as the catalyst for a desperately needed recovery and economic resurgence. Unfortunately, that isn’t the budget we’ve gotten. 

“Instead, the spending and revenue plan that was negotiated and passed by the Legislature’s Democratic Majorities, with the support of a weakened and embattled Governor, is a $212 billion dollar example of what happens when government spending and policy is dictated by progressive activists. 

“With the $12.5 billion federal bailout allocated to New York under the American Rescue Plan and higher-than-expected revenues, our budget gap disappeared, and along with it, any justification for raising taxes. Yet, this budget has a crushing $4.3 billion in new taxes on high earners and businesses. Why? Because the radical left who lobbied long and hard for these tax increases — and would have liked even more — believe that successful individuals and businesses, our job creators, should be penalized for what they’ve earned. 

“Much of this tax revenue will support the creation of a $2.1 billion fund that will allow individuals who were ineligible for unemployment insurance during the pandemic to receive payouts of up to $15,000 per person. This is a politically-driven item with an unacceptably high price tag, particularly with our state’s unemployment insurance fund depleted by the unprecedented demand of the pandemic. Struggling small businesses are now being hit with insurance rate increases that threaten their survival. 

“This reckless combination of tax and spending increases will have severe and long-term consequences on our state and its future, from lost jobs and shrinking opportunities, to the continuing exodus of residents to more affordable states. New York was already number one in outmigration and that trend is now poised to accelerate. 

“There are many positive investments and restorations in this budget that my Republican colleagues and I fought for and New Yorkers deserve. The next phase of the promised middle class tax cut has been restored, which will offer some much-needed relief to stretched family budgets. There are modest grants and tax credits for small businesses to help them recover from pandemic-driven losses. Our schools and students will benefit from increases in aid, including a $1.4 billion increase in Foundation Aid. There are restorations of local transportation aid and AIM funding for local governments. An additional $25 million was allocated for the Nourish NY program and funding for statewide agricultural programs was restored. 

“These restorations and allocations are needed and deserved and could have been achieved without the painful tax hikes and irresponsible spending. While this is a budget for the next fiscal year, the cost to New York will go far beyond next 12 months. That is why I had to vote ‘no.’”

From Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes:

Breaking every spending record in the state’s history, this $212 billion budget is simply irresponsible. In addition to the $212 billion budget, New York state also carries $59.9 billion in debt. The budget relies heavily on $12.6 billion in federal aid and new taxes. Next year, the federal aid will be gone but the 6.6 percent increase in spending won’t. “Tax-and-spend” rules the day.  

       The infusion of federal aid should have been used to stabilize our budget and economy. Our economy continues to struggle back from being shut down, record unemployment and New Yorkers moving out of state to more business-friendly areas. The message coming out of Albany does not evince an understanding that our state is in trouble. In fact, quite the opposite. This budget adds $4.5 billion in new, permanent taxes and increased spending. This budget commits our state to annual funding that is not sustainable.

       Certainly, there are many provisions of the budget that I agree with. Relief to small businesses, funding for highway infrastructure, along with financial support for our schools, disabled citizens and libraries, chief among them. But Democrats in Albany cared more about creating an alternative unemployment fund for undocumented persons (The Excluded Worker Fund) than supporting small business relief. The Excluded Worker Fund was allocated $2 billion, with each applicant receiving up to $15,000. Small business relief across the entire state was only allocated $1 billion. This disparity is unconscionable.
 
       The budget also failed to include any funds to expand broadband. This failure will hurt our communities. The budget does authorize a broadband study. It also requires companies to provide broadband at an affordable cost ($15 per month). I agree this is very important, but before we can have affordable broadband, we have to have access to broadband.

       Further, the budget impinges on our rights as a community to make decisions on large-scale energy projects (solar/wind). Previously, the New York State Department of Public Service was given the authority to determine the location and size of large-scale energy projects. In this year’s budget, another agency, NYSERDA was given the authority, using a holding company, to acquire, sell or transfer rights in “built-ready” sites to developers. This is being allowed to expedite the development of renewable energy projects — a further constraint on Home Rule.

       The governor is also authorized to close prisons on a 90-day notice through the budget. A similar provision was in the budget a couple years ago and had a devastating effect on our area when Livingston Correctional Facility closed.

These are just some of the budget failures and examples of Albany’s indifference to the hardworking citizens of our state. Many of you are working multiple jobs to make ends meet. We need to support our local economy, to support our community. But Albany just does not get it, and this budget is further proof of it.

From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano: 
“The final budget deal represents a fiscally irresponsible document that significantly increases taxes, spending and state debt and will have a negative ripple impact on our economy and all New Yorkers for years to come. Workers, families and small businesses have continued to make sacrifices and difficult decisions because of state-mandated COVID-19 closures, lockdowns and restrictions.

“Unfortunately, the governor and the Senate and Assembly Democratic majorities did not and recklessly passed a budget that increases taxes by more than $4 billion, spending more than $18 billion to result in a record setting $212 billion budget. The state debt was increased by $8 billion to add up to more than $67 billion. This budget, with their misplaced priorities, will just further stifle private sector investment, job creation and economic growth for our small businesses, farmers, manufacturers and the hardworking men and women of our state.
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“New York was already one of the highest-taxed states in the country. This year’s budget just adds to this dubious distinction. This is an irresponsible increase in taxes, spending and state debt, creating a dangerous fiscal policy that will continue the mass exodus of taxpayers to other states. New York has lost more than 1.4 million residents since 2010 and we continue to see a growing out-migration of New York taxpayers and businesses. New Yorkers are moving to places like Florida, North Carolina and Texas to escape our state’s costly, burdensome and overbearing taxes and regulatory system.
“Not only did the governor and Democratic majorities vote to significantly increase taxes, spending and debt but they also continue to advance misplaced priorities that are out of touch with families and small businesses across our state. They continue to support a $420 million film tax credit for Hollywood and the entertainment industry, even as they continue to move forward with implementing a $200 million taxpayer funded campaign system. In addition, they created a $2.1 billion “Excluded Workers Fund” that will send one-time state payments of up to $15,600 to undocumented immigrants. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses have been absolutely crushed by state-mandated closures, lockdowns and costly restrictions and we should be prioritizing helping our small business community to ensure they get the help and resources they need to survive and continue to provide jobs for families in their local communities.
“New York’s adopted $212 billion budget is bigger than that of Texas’ and Florida’s budgets combined. I am deeply concerned about this irresponsible budget and worry we are heading down an unsustainable path towards a fiscal cliff that will have a devastating impact on our tax base, economy and quality of life for our families, seniors, farmers, small businesses, manufacturers, workers and, especially, our children and grandchildren, who will someday be handed a bill to pay they had no voice in creating. They simply deserve better. Much, much better.”