The 2011 Legislative Session achieved real progress on tackling some of New York State’s most pressing challenges. This session we:
- Closed a $10 billion deficit without resorting to tax increases or borrowing;
- Passed an on-time State Budget for the first time in a long time;
- Made the “Power for Jobs” program permanent;
- Reduced spending and began rightsizing state government;
- Enacted a real property tax cap that made a down payment on relief for homeowners;
- Renewed Article X, New York’s expired power plant siting law;
- Implemented a rational SUNY tuition policy to help families better plan for future education costs, while keeping SUNY a national leader in educational excellence; and
- Passed bi-partisan ethics reform.
These accomplishments were cornerstones of the public policy agenda the Assembly Minority Conference has long championed. Each of these reforms was better than what New York had, but we can do even better than this. Absent significant relief from unfunded mandates and Albany-imposed cost drivers, New York’s property tax crisis remains. The unfunded mandate relief contained in tonight’s session-ending omnibus bill was insufficient; it did not address two of Albany’s biggest cost drivers: Medicaid and pensions. Going forward, we need to:
- Remove Medicaid mandates off the backs of localities;
- Enact defined-benefit, defined-contribution pension reform;
- Pass a state spending cap to ensure Albany lives within its means; and
- Move forward with a true economic development and private sector job creation plan that puts the hundreds of thousands of unemployed New Yorkers back to work.