Tuesday’s session called by the governor was a disgrace. The opportunity to solve New York’s growing economic crisis was lying right before us, yet, once again, Albany’s ‘business as usual’ mentality took over with even greater dysfunction than before.
The current budget deficit is $3.7 billion, a number that will grow to over $7.3 billion if not handled immediately. To counteract this deficit the governor has made proposals that would raise taxes and fees on individuals, minimizing the deficit through revenue enhancers, rather than tightening our budget through spending cuts like state residents have been forced to do.
Among the most egregious revenue enhancers is a 25 percent increase on driver licenses and vehicle registration fees, as well as the implementation of a new license plate, which will cost drivers an additional $25. The new license plates, as well as the hike in DMV fees, would take place in April of 2010. Upon renewal of their vehicle registration, individuals also will be required to purchase a new license plate, placing an unnecessary financial burden on families who already are struggling to make ends meet.
In the face of this unnecessary and massive fee hike, the Assembly Minority has proposed $3.7 billion in reasonable and justifiable cuts to the current state budget, which would also ensure that neither healthcare nor education programs be touched.
We cannot afford to waste taxpayer dollars by continuing Albany’s dysfunctional ways. I call on the majority in both legislative houses to come to Monday’s session prepared to negotiate in a bipartisan manner and not leave until something is accomplished. It is time that government stop draining people’s pockets as a way of fixing their budgetary mismanagement.