After agreeing to a $175.5 billion budget, lawmakers from the Finger Lakes area railed against the spending measures instituted by the Democrat-controlled chambers.
The budget increases education spending, makes the tax cap permanent, and includes an ‘end’ to traditional cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. The budget also includes the controversial ‘mugshot ban’, which will mean that only arrest record will be available for public consumption moving forward. It also includes a ban on plastic, single-use bags, which will go into effect in March 2020.
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb issued the following statement after the budget was passed:
“The 2019-2020 Enacted State Budget is a tax-and-spend debacle and precisely the fiscal disaster many predicted would follow the new one-party Democratic rule in Albany.
The apparent economic strategy of New York Democrats is simple: ‘Put a tax or fee on everything you see.’ Grocery bags, internet purchases, vapor products, real estate transactions, prescription medication, rental cars, commuting in and around New York City all become more expensive when this budget takes effect.
If anyone believes crime doesn’t pay, they should visit New York. This budget reinforces the pro-criminal priorities of liberal Democrats, who in recent months have relaxed penalties, pardoned felons, waived bail, freed cop-killers, handed out iPads to inmates, concealed mugshots, closed prisons, undermined federal law enforcement and infringed on police work.
This spending plan is good for moving companies. It’s good for people who have broken the law. It’s good for individuals who are in our country illegally. It’s good for Andrew Cuomo.
For the rest of us, everyday life becomes more expensive. Cost-of-living challenges remain and will likely worsen. More family, friends and neighbors will pack up and leave for more affordable options. The 2019-2020 State Budget:
- shortchanges the salary needs of the dedicated professionals who care for our relatives, friends, and neighbors with disabilities and delays an inadequate pay raise until January 1, 2020;
- cuts millions from the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), which gives individuals in need of care the flexibility to choose their own care professional and services;
- bans single-use plastic bags and allows counties to opt-in to a program that would charge 5 cents on paper bags, adding costs onto consumers’ grocery bills;
- authorizes the governor to close up to three correctional facilities with only 90 days’ notice, rather than the 12 months required by law – a move that will have devastating impacts on communities and prison employees;
- fast-tracks drastic criminal justice reforms without proper public discussion, eliminates cash bail and implements procedural changes that were vehemently opposed by local prosecutors;
- establishes a commission to review public financing of campaigns, setting in motion the potential for taxpayers to fund political mailers, advertisements and robocalls;
- creates unnecessary burdens on counties, towns and villages by linking $59 million of Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) funding to local sales tax revenues;
- fails to provide additional funding for the Consolidated Local Street & Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) for upstate roads and bridge upgrades and completely eliminates the Extreme Winter Recovery Program;
- inexplicably cuts $20 million in library construction grants;
- gives New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio a three-year extension on Mayoral Control of schools, despite schools underperforming on his watch; and
- fails to increase oversight and transparency of the state’s compromised economic development programs, while giving the governor even greater authority in the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB).
It’s the Legislature and governor’s job to craft an on-time budget that delivers a financial plan that solves our state’s most-pressing fiscal problems and addresses the most critical issues facing the residents of our state. We did nothing to alleviate the tax burden on communities, families or businesses and inexplicably, numerous measures toward those ends were left out entirely.
Let this serve as a wakeup call to lawmakers across the state – during the rest of the 2019 Legislative Session, we must enact policies that move our state in a positive direction and improve the lives of those we represent.”
Sen. Pam Helming issued the following statement:
“The Democrats who control every level of state government missed an opportunity today to lead and put an end to partisan politics. They missed an opportunity to make New York more affordable and help average people. Instead, they took the budget as a chance to use middle class families, senior citizens, and small businesses as their piggy bank to pay for a laundry list of progressive policy ideas, rather than investing in the basics like infrastructure, education, and public safety. The budget process should be about revenues, expenditures, and providing basic government services, not policy.
“When I conducted my 2019 Legislative Questionnaire, my constituents said making New York more affordable and cutting wasteful spending were their top budget priorities. The budget passed in Albany does the exact opposite. It’s packed with billions in new taxes, fees, and spending that will drive even more people out of our state. Funding for vital programs that support veterans, breast cancer survivors, workforce development, volunteer fire departments, and first responders were dramatically cut, if not completely slashed. Instead, New York State will now be covering the legal defense of illegal aliens and paying the college tuition of students from foreign countries who are attending SUNY colleges on student visas. This budget puts taxpayers on the hook to pay for political campaigns, aka ‘welfare for politicians,’ to the tune of $100 million a year while they struggle with some of the highest taxes in the nation. The budget included a $420 million tax credit for movie producers but missed the mark on education. Local students, teachers, and their families will continue to be shortchanged by New York’s broken education aid formula while Hollywood movie producers rake it in. The budget process was a shameful charade that will do little to benefit the people I represent.”
Sen. Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano issued the following statement:
“It didn’t take long for Governor Cuomo and a State Legislature under one-party, Democratic control to show their true colors. In a state budget allocating hundreds of billions of dollars, including billions of dollars alone for downstate mass transit, state Democrats cut funding for one of government’s fundamental responsibilities, which is the improvement and maintenance of local roads and bridges. This budget delivers state government at its worst. It pulls the foundation out from under local roads and bridges throughout this state. It turns its back on local infrastructure, local economies, local property taxpayers, and local motorists. It’s a disgrace.”
New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox issued the following statement:
“Unfortunately for New Yorkers, the state budget is a reality and not just a scary April Fools’ joke. The 2019-2020 budget, negotiated solely by Governor Cuomo and legislative Democrats, is an assault on already overburdened taxpayers and one of the principal reasons why their one-party rule is destroying our state. For the millions of New Yorkers who are thinking about leaving the state, this budget may have just put the final nail in the coffin.
The $175.5 billion spending plan is a fiscal disaster with a cornucopia of new taxes and fees on everything from grocery bags to real estate, prescription medicine, internet purchases, driving and more. While Albany Democrats have spat in the faces of the hard-working middle class, criminals are coddled and Cuomo catered rotelike to the far-left Democratic base that he needs to further his presidential ambitions.
Meanwhile, New York continues to teeter on the brink of fiscal disaster desperately in need of fundamental reforms. There must be a reckoning, and it will happen at the ballot box in 2020.”