Building A Better Budget For Upstate New York
Legislative column by Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I-Canandaigua)
March 14, 2008
The families living and working in upstate New York are feeling the squeeze, now more than ever. Money is flying out of their wallets as they struggle to afford essentials such as groceries, gasoline, heating fuel, education, healthcare and property taxes. My Assembly Minority Conference and I took an opportunity this week to remind the New York City dominated Assembly that upstate has unique needs that must be addressed in this year’s budget. Amidst scandal in the Executive Chamber, the state Legislature continued its work on behalf of the people of New York State. The April 1 state budget deadline is looming and both houses of the state Legislature have passed their “one-house budget bills.” During the debate on these bills, my Conference and I fought for amendments to the Assembly Majority fiscal plan that sought tax relief, economic development, job creation, better health care and smaller, more efficient government. Kolb explains that the floor amendments, which were ultimately shot down by the Assembly Majority, would have reined in spending, alleviated the burden on property owners, reduced the size of government, controlled the cost of healthcare and helped manufacturing/small businesses thrive. A few of the floor amendments advanced this week in the state Assembly include:
- Eliminate all state gasoline taxes.
- Eliminate the personal income tax on Middle Class STAR rebate checks.
- Personal income tax cut for individuals earning $75,000 or less a year and families earning $150,000 or less.
- Eliminate the Thruway Authority, merging it into the Department of Transportation.
- Restore the proposed 35 percent cut to Medicaid inflationary trend factors for hospitals, home care and nursing homes.
- Eliminate the Corporate Franchise Tax and Personal Income Tax on manufacturers.
- Implement a Small Business Tax Relief Plan.
- Restore cuts to counties for temporary assistance for needy families.
- Reduce all state non-personal service spending by 15%.