Reaction to Hochul’s budget proposal: Plenty of praise and some concern over ‘meager tax cuts’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 January 2022 at 6:36 pm

Gov. Kathy Hochul today presented a $216 billion Executive Budget that she said balances the budget while giving middle tax cuts and relief to small businesses, while investing in healthcare and education.

Here are some of the reactions to her budget proposal:

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia: “For all of the talk during today’s executive budget address by our governor of a bright new future for New York, the proposals discussed seemed tired and unimaginative at best. New York’s economy isn’t going to suddenly catch fire because of a few meager tax cuts or narrow tax credit programs for businesses, because at the end of the day New York will still have little to offer entrepreneurs looking across the country to open businesses and create jobs. Within a global economy that grows more competitive by the day, it will only grow harder for us to attract the best and brightest to live and work here when it’s so lucrative for them to invest their resources elsewhere. With that said, I do applaud the announced investment into education, something of vital importance in a marketplace demanding skilled, technologically-savvy workers.”

New York Conference of Mayors Executive Director Peter Baynes: “Gov. Hochul’s Executive Budget is a positive and long overdue development in state-local relations in New York. By proposing increased investments in local road, bridge, water and sewer infrastructure, she is walking the walk of someone who understands that New York cannot succeed without strong local governments. Her respect for municipalities is demonstrated by her proposal to eliminate the state’s recent practice of intercepting local sales tax revenue to pay for state aid to localities. And her focus on revitalizing all cities and villages through programs like the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, NY Forward and Restore New York will pay important dividends for our residents and small businesses. While the final piece of the puzzle – an increase in AIM funding to municipalities – is currently missing, NYCOM will work with the Senate, Assembly and Governor to address this omission prior to final budget adoption.”

New York State Association of Counties President Martha Sauerbrey: “Counties are very encouraged to see that the budget makes significant progress in restoring local control over local taxes by making sales tax rates permanent and ending the misguided practice of intercepting local sales tax to pay for the State’s AIM program. Counties also applaud the inclusion of increased funding for local public health departments that have been on the front lines of the pandemic for nearly two years, as well as investments in local road and bridge programs, strengthening workforce development, expanding local veterans’ programs, and modernizing the vacation rental industry in our communities – all while making a commitment to use the state’s strong fiscal position to build reserves for the future.”

NYS County Executives Association President Marcus Molinaro: “After one-sided top down governance from the state, counties began this year with an encouraging step toward creating a new partnership. The Governor’s 2022-2023 budget proposal addresses long-sought county priorities like providing permanency in local sales taxes, ending the diversion of local taxes to pay for the State’s AIM program, and making significant investments in public health, support for veterans and infrastructure. While there remain areas of concern, like the state continuing to to confiscate local sales tax to support a distressed health facilities fund, there is lots of common ground to build on and we look forward to engaging with the Governor and state lawmakers in the coming months create a budget that supports local governments and the residents we serve.”

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta: “With the state on solid financial footing, the ongoing needs of our pandemic-battered public schools, colleges and hospitals must be met this year. Gov. Hochul’s spending plan makes some important commitments toward meeting those needs, including a significant increase in aid for K-12 schools and sorely needed operating aid for SUNY and CUNY. We look forward to reviewing the executive budget in greater detail and ensuring the voices of our members are included in the conversation between now and April 1.”

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy: “From offering solutions to workforce shortages to infusing capital into communities, Governor Hochul’s proposed budget seeks to support business in unprecedented and desperately needed ways. Tax relief for small businesses, childcare funding, financial aid for Covid-related expenditures, a $1 billion fund available for small business innovation, and violence prevention funding are just a handful of ways this budget holistically addresses barriers to success for economic growth in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.

Greater Rochester Chamber and our 1,300 members stand ready to help Governor Hochul in making New York stronger than ever by supporting policies that allow our businesses to thrive.”