State Budget Adopted On Time
Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R,C-Chautauqua) today welcomed news that, for the first time in decades, New York state has an on-time budget. “This budget is historic because it closed a $10 billion deficit without relying on more spending or broad-based tax increases,” said Assemblyman Andy Goodell. “In addition, this is the first time in decades that a budget has actually reduced overall state spending.”
Although the budget includes many painful cuts, fiscal restraint was essential to the long-term future of New York state. “This budget sends an important message that New York is willing to make the tough decisions to control spending. Now we need to focus on real mandate relief, pension reform and health insurance reform to help local governments cut property taxes,” said Goodell.
With the excellent leadership of Senator Cathy Young and the support of Assemblyman Joe Giglio, the budget adopted by the state Legislature included several important funding restorations for Chautauqua County residents, including:
Agriculture: The state Legislature was able to restore partial funding to several agricultural programs that play a key role in supporting the vitality of Chautauqua County, among them:
- The Farm Viability Institute $1,221,000
- Farm Family Assistance Program $384,000
- Pro-Dairy Program $411,000
- Integrated Pest Management Program $500,000
- Wine and Grape Foundation $713,000
- Apple Growers Association $206,000
- Future Farmers of America $192,000
Education Aid: A total of $230 million in education aid was restored to the budget, including an estimated $2.04 million in additional education aid for Chautauqua County schools. The revised spending plan also corrected the funding disparity that was contained in the governor’s executive budget, which disproportionately cut upstate funding. Under the revised formula, Upstate New York, with 45% of all students, will receive 49% of funding. Finally, the revised budget includes a tentative increase for next year of $800 million in education aid, contingent upon anticipated normal growth in the average rate of personal income.
The revised budget also included about $800,000 for Jamestown Community College capital construction, expanded the Tuition Assistance Program, an additional $3 million in library aid and full reimbursement for blind and deaf schooling. Finally, the budget increased reimbursement for transportation expenses.
Economic Development: The enacted state budget also includes a long-term tax credit program designed to increase job growth and business investment. The tax credits are estimated to be worth about $2.25 billion over ten years.
“Ultimately, private-sector job growth is the key to reviving New York’s economy,” said Goodell. “It is critical that New York state become more business competitive so that our local employers can grow and expand.”
The state Legislature also adopted the “Recharge NY” program to provide long-term hydropower contracts to further economic development in upstate communities. The previous program only provided annual contracted power commitments, which seriously undercut its effectiveness because businesses were not able to make long-term investment decisions based on short-term incentives.
“I was pleased that the Legislature was able to address a very serious and very difficult budget without resorting to broad-based taxes, fees and additional borrowing. I now look forward to working hard to cut the cost of state mandates and help local governments cut property taxes,” said Goodell.
Housing: $8.5 million was restored to the Neighborhood Preservation Program. Another $3.5 million was restored to the Rural Preservation Program.
“The funds will contribute to community-based Preservation Corporations that participate in a variety of projects including housing rehabilitation, counseling and renewal,” said Goodell.
I am pleased that some of this money will be contributing to the housing needs of the people and communities of Chautauqua County.”
“As a freshman legislator, I especially appreciated the experience, wisdom and leadership of Senator Young and Assemblyman Giglio during the budget process,” said Goodell. “Chautauqua County residents are indeed fortunate to have such great legislators working on their behalf.”