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Lawmakers, NYSUT respond critically to Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal

When the dust settled on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 spending plan, which lawmakers will now debate furiously before the budget is passed in April – some local lawmakers voiced concerns with the proposals inside it.

Senator Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats) warned that Cuomo’s proposed state budget charts a course for the future of New York that could leave state and local taxpayers “footing an outrageous bill.”

His main concern: A significant increase in state government spending, even as New York face a $6 billion deficit.

“Does it make sense, when you’re already overspending and overtaxing, to call for more spending and more borrowing that everyone knows will sooner or later require higher taxes? Governor Cuomo proposes billions upon billions of dollars of short- and long-term new spending and borrowing and that’s before he even sits down to negotiate with a State Legislature under one-party, downstate control that will not hesitate to spend even more and tax even more to pay for it,” O’Mara said. “We are staring at another year of ignoring the fiscal warning signs and failing to begin restoring some common sense to this government. Future taxpayers are going to be left footing an outrageous bill for this governor’s and this Legislature’s overspending and overtaxing.”

O’Mara said that he would keep working with his legislative colleagues across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions to keep attention focused on unfunded state mandates, job-killing state regulations, out-of-control debt, and a state tax burden that hurts family budgets and keeps New York’s business climate one of the worst in the nation.

New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta released the following statement:

“When it comes to fully funding public education, every year we hear the same thing at the start of the budget process: We have a huge deficit, so don’t ask for more money. But what we’re really asking for is for New York to keep its promises. Educational inequality is the most pressing issue of our time because the state is billions of dollars behind on Foundation Aid funding for roughly 400 school districts statewide. The time has come for New York to fund our future. That means paying school districts what they are owed, investing in SUNY and CUNY two-year and four-year colleges, investing in SUNY hospitals and closing the TAP gap. And let’s be clear that there isn’t a lack of money in New York to do this. Billionaires and the ultra-millionaires can afford to pay their fair share toward essential state services. It’s time New York finally made them do just that.”

New York State Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) issued the following statement:

“Today’s Executive Budget proposal underscores the deep financial issues facing New York and the amount of work ahead of us during the next several weeks. Years of runaway spending, mounting debt and fiscal sleight-of-hand have finally caught up to us in the form of a $6.1 billion budget gap. For the second time, this administration needs to lean on a Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) to fix the bloated program. This time, the MRT is being asked to identify $2.5 billion in savings in a way that holds counties harmless and does not undermine our health care system. It’s a laudable goal, but it may be a very different financial reality. There are certainly some positive aspects to what we heard today. On education, the governor is correct in calling for an increase in the amount of state aid being sent to public schools. And while it’s encouraging to see the Executive Budget include the Assembly Minority’s proposed tax cuts for small businesses, we cannot off-set those gains by enacting regulations that stifle meaningful job growth and prosperity. Overall, this budget address offered a number of policy ideas, but ignored too many realities facing 19 million New Yorkers – an affordability crisis that’s driving people out of our state, the disastrous bail reforms that have compromised public safety and a tax climate that hurts nearly every one of us. This was yet another budget presentation that failed to acknowledge the state’s debt burden, which stands at $57 billion and climbing. Today’s presentation represents the start of the 2020 budget process. I hope that over the coming months we can reach a responsible agreement, and one that funds programs and services without undermining our future economic health. The governor and Majority leaders would do well to ensure this year’s budget discussions are, unlike the past, transparent and inclusive. Opening up the door for more ideas, voices and representation would be a refreshing change, and one New York desperately needs.”

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