Hawley says state budget, abhorrent policies will hurt small businesses, farmers

Staff Reports Posted 1 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Cuomo says budget helps ‘create an economy and a society where we all can succeed’

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo sees the new state budget as fiscally responsible and social progressive with a higher minimum wage and paid family leave, a local assemblyman is calling the budget “abhorrent.”

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, released this statement about the $147 billion budget:

“Barring the extreme disregard for transparency, integrity and inclusiveness in this year’s budget process, the legislation we passed over the last two days in Albany will wreak havoc on our small businesses and agriculture industry.

“The budget includes virtually no tax and regulatory reform for small-businesses, and a minimum wage increase to $12.50 per hour upstate with an escalation to $15 in the future, which will destroy New York’s already-ailing business community. Upstate cannot afford such a drastic increase, and the burden will fall on the middle-class in the form of higher prices and vanishing job opportunities.

“Further damaging to our small business community will be the 12 week paid-family leave program, entirely funded by already over-burdened taxpayers. This is another example of New York City liberals expanding government and reaching into the pockets of our business owners and residents. While paid-family leave has good intentions, it will be ripe with abuse and cause labor costs to skyrocket. We cannot afford another expensive Albany mandate.

“As the former owner and operator of our family-owned farm, I know what it takes to grow New York’s agriculture industry. Unfortunately, this budget cuts agriculture local assistance by over $160,000 and offers little relief for farms transitioning to a higher minimum wage. Agriculture is one of New York’s premiere industries, and I will do what I can to rectify these abhorrent policies.”

Gov. Cuomo issued this statement this evening:

“Passage of this groundbreaking state budget is proof positive of government’s ability to improve the lives of millions of people by being both socially and economically progressive and fiscally responsible.

“For the past six years we have defied the odds – cutting taxes and limiting the growth of government after decades of financial mismanagement, and investing wisely in schools, infrastructure, and Upstate communities at levels never seen before. We led the way for the nation on marriage equality, gun control, and environmental protection while others simply debated. This year, we are tackling another one of the greatest issues of our time by reclaiming economic justice for hard-working people and their families.

“We have created a new promise of opportunity for the working men and women of New York by passing a $15 minimum wage statewide and the strongest paid family leave program in the nation. Now in New York, if you work hard you will have the opportunity to succeed.

“This budget shows what we can achieve when we rise above partisan politics, fear and division. In New York, we have our political differences, but we are not divided on the importance of doing what’s best for our state. Instead we work together to create an economy and a society where we all can succeed.”