Governor’s wrong choices put future at risk

From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker

The governor insists on defending his wrong-headed choices

The governor’s budget includes:

  • Tax and fee hikes totaling $6.7 billion that will disproportionately hurt working families – despite a no-new-taxes-pledge;
  • $1.4 billion in cuts to education that will leave the state ill-prepared to build the kind of highly-skilled workforce we’ll need and send property taxes soaring an average of 20 percent;
  • $2 billion in cuts to health care, placing an already financially-stressed industry – and a leading employer – into further jeopardy;
  • More than $700 million in cuts to higher education, including a $1,200 tuition hike for the state’s public colleges and universities, and a one-third cut to the Tuition Assistance Program;
  • A more than 50 percent cut to local public health programs – the first line of defense against bioterrorism and disease outbreaks like SARS and the West Nile Virus; and
  • $3.5 million in cuts to local Empire Zones, undermining a program that even the administration acknowledges is one of the most successful job creation tools in state history.

The governor is on a reckless path that compromises our families for years to come

Pataki refuses to negotiate with the Legislature on his dreadful budget choices, which will force our schools to struggle, our health care industry to go into shock and our state’s economy to continue on its downward spiral under his failed policies of the present.

The governor refuses to budge from his destructive budget proposal which calls for huge tax hikes and massive cuts to education and health care funding, and he’s rejected bipartisan efforts to move budget negotiations forward.

Governor rejects the right choices

Despite an expressed desire from the Legislature to work with him, the governor has shown no willingness to embrace better choices.

The governor proposed a risky plan to finance a portion of the budget deficit with tobacco bonds, but his scheme would push greater debt onto future generations and steal future tobacco revenue from vital health care and housing programs. The Assembly found a way to raise the money that will save taxpayers $1.1 billion. But the governor rejected a less-costly alternative the Assembly worked out with the state Senate to finance a portion of the deficit.

And when the Assembly and Senate passed legislation 144 – 0 and 60 – 1, respectively, to reschedule school district budget votes from May 20 to June 3 – giving hard-pressed school districts much-needed breathing room – the governor vetoed the measure.

The Legislature is moving ahead to undo the governor’s wrong choices, but the governor’s veto would effectively force school districts to carry through any teacher layoffs or program cuts submitted to voters under the governor’s draconian school aid proposal.

New York is already feeling effects of governor’s intransigence

The results of the governor’s wrong choices are already popping up across the state. In order to avoid running out of money next month, the government is postponing all "non-essential" capital spending. That means our roads – already ranked among the worst in the nation – will continue to crumble as the governor squanders the construction season. Building projects that localities have planned for are already being scrapped.

School aid payments are being delayed. School districts across the state are already terrified about the $1.4 billion in cuts the governor proposes for them. Already facing the likelihood of raising property taxes, laying off teachers and cutting programs, how can the governor possibly justify a move that will delay what little money they’re expecting?

Governor refuses to join the Legislature in bipartisan cooperation

Given the magnitude of the state’s economic crisis, the Assembly and Senate have put aside partisanship in order to do their duty for the people. Our state needs leadership, direction – and the right choices. It’s time for the governor to join us.

New York State Assembly
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