I applaud Governor Paterson for unveiling his 2009-10 Executive Budget early so that we can begin the budget process and work to reach an early agreement. His proposals, however, will produce $3.1 billion in new taxes and fee increases. In a time of economic downturn, we need to review and prioritize all state spending. This will allow us to eliminate wasteful spending, reduce our overall budget and not force New Yorkers to bear an even greater financial burden than they are already facing.
One thing I did not hear the governor talk about in his budget presentation was a plan to help the upstate economy rebound. The best way for New York state to increase its revenues is to have a successful economy where people are paying taxes on greater incomes and higher levels of consumer spending. Raising taxes and fees will only assure a slower rebound from the current economic crisis.
In the coming weeks, budget negotiations will begin and I will be fighting for tax relief and on refocusing some of the budget’s priorities. The governor offered to listen to proposals from the Legislature to change his budget plan. I plan to take the governor up on his offer. I believe we need to focus on eliminating wasteful spending and budget money for programs that will most help New Yorkers.
In the midst of these challenging times, I am still hopeful in the future of Upstate New York. I will continue to work with the governor and the rest of the Legislature for what is in the best interest of all New Yorkers.