Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,C,I-Greenwood Lake) today will be meeting with the Governor to discuss the state budget, including the “Ravitch plan.” The Assemblywoman plans to discuss her personal fiscal priorities, such as rescinding the MTA payroll tax, property tax relief, and reducing Albany’s mandates on localities.
“Simply stated, I do not support plans that increase our state debt in lieu of cutting spending and that’s the bottom line with the ‘Ravitch plan.’ By allowing the state to borrow up to $6 billion in the next three years, we are simply adding to the very debt we aim to lower,” said the assemblywoman.
Last week, Assemblywoman Rabbitt met with the lieutenant governor to hear his vision for reforming the state’s finances. While she applauded some efforts to control the Legislature’s ability to take on new debt, she believes that provisions in the plan that allow the state to take up to $2 billion in new debt per year over the next three years was excessive. She stated, “It’s just too much. The answer is not in increasing debt, it’s in spending less. Yes, $9 billion is a lot to cut, but we have to start somewhere. Coupled with the governor’s budget proposal, which increases taxes, such as the $465 million he expects to raise with the soda tax, accepting any proposal that adds billions to our already insurmountable debt just does not make sense.”
The Assemblywoman continued, “Furthermore, we are in serious times right now, but this is not news to anyone who has had their feet on the ground. I am thrilled to be working with the Executive Branch in a bipartisan manner, but I still feel that heads in Albany are up in the clouds. Families cannot afford groceries. We need real change and creating another ‘oversight’ committee to baby-sit the ‘three men in a room’ is not going to help, especially when the three men are the very ones appointing the oversight committee.”
Assemblywoman Rabbitt commented that she was not pleased with the lieutenant governor’s remarks that by creating the five-person oversight committee the Legislature would have more “justification” for adding billions in state debt. She said, “We don’t need a new system: we need more responsible lawmakers. Albany’s leaders do not need an excuse to add to state debt, nor should we be giving them a scapegoat to blame. The leaders should know just as well as I do that their constituents are suffering, our state is hurting, and they should be determined to do everything they can in the interest of all New Yorkers. Hiring baby-sitters won’t help. The leaders need to take a look in the mirror and ask themselves what they are doing here. If the answer is, as so many of us suspect, that they are here for personal gain, too entrenched to do what is right, then they need to leave.”
On top of sharing her thoughts on the “Ravitch plan,” the assemblywoman plans to ask the governor to rescind the MTA payroll tax and use his authority to encourage the majorities in both houses to agree to such a plan. She said, “The lieutenant governor is the same person who asked Albany to create the MTA payroll tax and look at how that’s working out. Record jobs are being lost and all we hear about from the MTA is scandal after scandal.”
Assemblywoman Rabbitt, who has been asked to serve on the Budget Conference Committee on General Government/Local Assistance, also will be calling on the governor to reduce property taxes as well as Albany-imposed mandates on local governments to help further reduce property taxes. She commented, “We cannot tax – or borrow – our way out of this mess. Something needs to go, that’s for sure, but we can no longer push the burden of the state budget onto residents in the Hudson Valley or other upstate communities.”
Finally, the assemblywoman plans to ask the Governor to declare a state of emergency in Orange and Rockland counties to help her constituents recover from this past weekend’s storm. The storm has caused many roads to be flooded as well as extensive home and property damage and power outages.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt stated, “I look forward to reporting back to my constituents the results of my meeting with the governor and am hopeful that these negotiations will lead to an on-time, responsible budget that addresses the core issues facing our communities back home: property tax relief, mandate relief, and rescinding the MTA payroll tax.”