Raia: Assembly Budget Misses An Opportunity

March 15, 2011

Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C – East Northport) today voted against the Assembly Majority’s one-house budget resolution, calling it inconclusive and lacking in real reform.

“Today, the Assembly Majority chose to take two steps back by continuing the tax-and-spend culture that got us into this mess in the first place,” Raia said. “If this bill comes to fruition, there will be nearly $5 billion in new taxes, including a proposal to tax children at birth. It’s absolutely outrageous that our spending problem has reached a level of absurdity that now requires us to tax newborns.”

In addition to a $170 million “baby tax”, which would impose an assessment on hospitals performing obstetrical care on new mothers, the Assembly Majority also applied the “cancer tax” to their budget. It was originally introduced by the Governor’s Medicaid Redesign team and was accepted in Governor Cuomo’s 30 Day Amendments. This “cancer tax” would impose a 9.6 percent tax on services such as x-rays and radiological services.

“What’s next? Is the Majority going to tax the air we breathe?” Raia asked. “There is absolutely no Medicaid reform in this budget; the Governor was proactive by suggesting a cap to slow the growth of the billion-dollars-per-week program but the Assembly Majority completely disregarded the proposal. The State of New York does not have a revenue problem; there is an evident spending problem.”

Tonight’s vote was a step toward completing the state budget, which is due on the Governor’s desk by April 1. A late budget may result in layoffs or a possible government shutdown.

“This budget is missing key relief to bolster our economy and bring back jobs Long Island desperately needs,” Raia said. “It is time to make sure the necessary cuts make it into the budget. Long Island needs its fair share in education aid, since its taxpayers pay ridiculously high property taxes but there is a massive disparity in education funding compared to New York City and Upstate. The Assembly Majority budget provides no mandate relief for local governments and school districts who are arduously trying to balance their own budgets. I’m working tirelessly to make sure the Governor will sign a timely budget and that New Yorkers get the tax relief they’ve been waiting for.”