Reflecting on the governorís budget proposal and 21-day amendments, I find myself gravely concerned with the toll this budget will have on taxpayers across New York state. New York is currently faced with an $8.2 billion deficit, at a time when more than 800,000 individuals are jobless. The people of our state already are being taxed to the limit, forcing them to budget their spending down to the penny; it is time for state government to do the same.
Unfortunately, the governor has chosen to counteract the growing deficit by cutting $1.1 billion in funding to education and $15.5 million to local government aid. These cuts will only force local governments to increase property taxes across the state, increasing the load on taxpayers already stretched beyond their breaking point. The governor also has introduced over $1.4 billion in new taxes and fees on everyday items, such as soft drinks and gatorade, healthcare surcharges and natural gas, which will cost the average family of four approximately $1,812 additionally per year. Finally, the governor has chosen to rely on $1.6 billion in federal funds, currently nonexistent, to close any additional budget gaps; the governor is playing with fire and taxpayers are going to get burned.
I urge the majority leaders of both the Assembly and the Senate to include the voices of all New Yorkers, regardless of political party or geographic location, as they begin budget negotiations. The governorís proposed budget is a painful stab in the heart to taxpayers across New York who deserve to have their voices heard. It is vital that we look inward as we begin budget cuts, fully conscious of the hardworking people of our state.