Raia: Albany Again Demonstrates A ‘Deficit’ Of Honesty

Lawmaker criticizes phony fix from Albany’s ‘three men in a room,’ condemns poisonous process
December 2, 2009

Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C-East Northport) today blasted a corrupt Albany leadership – Governor David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and Senate Majority Leader John Sampson – for its budget gimmick masquerading as leadership. The deficit reduction plan introduced by the three New York City liberals included cuts to higher education on Long Island, health care cuts totaling more than $120 million, $32 million slashed from scheduled payments to cities and municipalities, a debit from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a massive cost-shifting to Suffolk County from the state, and almost nothing to deal with the long-term structural problems of the Empire State’s shaky finances. The net effect of these changes, explained Raia, would be to raise property taxes in Suffolk County.

“We did not get a reduced deficit today; what we received instead was the mother of all shell games,” said Raia. “Cost shifting, cuts to local cities, moving money from one bankrupt state project to the general revenue fund – it all adds up to the worst we have seen from Albany in a long time. The people of Long Island were told that the MTA would be able to absorb the cuts to its operating budget, to the tune of $120 million. Great. Now cut the intrusive and oppressive 34-cents-on-the-dollar payroll tax by a $120 million aggregate.

“I am appalled by today’s so-called ‘fix.’ The governor and his rubber-stamp parliament of New York City career politicians have broken countless promises to the taxpaying families of our region, from health care payments ensuring mental health parity in Timothy’s Law to the required payments to our municipalities that keep vital services in place and property taxes in line. We have much more work to do to get New York’s finances stable and the state back on track. The broken and corrupt process we have seen over the last four weeks, and the phony fix approved today, should concern every New Yorker about the feasibility of this urgent goal.”