Local state legislators oppose new $175 billion state budget

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2019 at 8:13 am

The state budget was approved this morning, just after the midnight deadline. Local state legislators share their concerns with the $175 billion spending plan.

Ortt: ‘The cost of living and working in our state just increased dramatically’

Rob Ortt

A statement from Senator Rob Ortt, R-North Tonawanda:

“Budgets are about priorities, and this year, Democrats have chosen to prioritize free college for illegal aliens, to roll back charges against serious criminals, to provide corporate subsidies for Hollywood billionaires, and to provide political welfare through taxpayer-funded campaigns.

“If your only crime is being a farmer, gun owner, business owner or a regular, hard-working New Yorker, Democrats have demonstrated that you are not a priority. We’re now looking at over a billion dollars in new taxes and fees, from pain meds for cancer patients to grocery bags, internet purchases for everyday New Yorkers or electric bills for a local mom and pop small business – the cost of living and working in our state just increased dramatically. Apparently, the only crime this new majority finds unforgivable is being a law-abiding, taxpayer.”

Hawley: Downstate dominates in new budget

Steve Hawley

“As usual, the state budget was passed in the middle of the night, rushed through the Legislature with little time for public input or discussion and ridden with contentious policy proposals that should be debated separate from a spending plan.

“I am concerned that the governor can now close up to three state prisons within 90 days and state leaders are content with ending bail for some felonies, putting the public at risk and sending the message that those who have broken the law should be given more and more leeway.

“While we did secure funding for key bridge repair and infrastructure projects I am concerned at the growing disparity between upstate and downstate infrastructure spending with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) consuming billions of tax dollars per year with little oversight or accountability.

“I have been a champion of easing the burden on local governments for years and tonight our conference offered a budget amendment to fully restore Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding – this was shamelessly defeated by the Assembly Majority. Gov. Cuomo has drastically changed the AIM formula, forcing counties to fend for themselves instead of offering state help to bolster local services.

“I am pleased to see our direct-care professionals receive funding for retention and salary increases but more needs to be done to protect those who protect our most vulnerable New Yorkers. Our conference has advocated for a living wage for these dedicated men and women for years and will continue championing their cause until a true living wage is achieved.

“As session continues I will keep banging the drum for tax relief, an end to mandated Albany spending passed down to homeowners, reforming our charitable gaming laws and fighting the pro-criminal, anti-Second Amendment policies pushed by Gov. Cuomo.”

Norris: New budget ‘is an attack on upstate’

Mike Norris

A statement from Assemblyman Mike Norris, R-Lockport

“This downstate dominated one-party designed budget is an attack on upstate New York. With one million New Yorkers having already fled our state’s ‘tax and spend’ culture since 2010, we needed this budget to do something to reduce the high taxes and excessive fees and regulations that continue to drive people and jobs away.

“Instead, the downstate one-party majorities pushed through the most expensive spending plan in our state’s history that not only raised taxes by more than $4 billion, including changes to the long-proven STAR program, but also raises state debt to $57 billion, which is the second highest in the nation – an action that will cripple future generations of New Yorkers.

“In the scope of their massive spending plan, the priorities of Western New Yorkers were left out. Their downstate-driven budget cuts construction aid for libraries, does nothing to support volunteer firefighters, outrageously shifts how local Aid to Municipalities is funded, makes it harder for police to do their jobs, imposes many new unfunded mandates on local governments and businesses, gives away taxpayers’ hard-earned money as free tuition for illegal immigrants while ignoring the needs of citizens who are college-bound, strips funding from the Extreme Winter Recovery infrastructure program, and gives nothing more to improve the crumbling bridges and roads north of Long Island.

“Yet, the budget makes dangerous changes that empower criminals. Western New Yorkers and I both know that this is clearly the wrong direction for our state, and I voted ‘no’ on the entire budget.”

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