Instead of dealing with New York’s harsh fiscal realities, the Assembly Majority passed a budget that raises taxes by $4.9 billion, approves $1 billion in new spending, and does little to address long-term spending. The budget also fails to provide relief for local governments struggling under the weight of unfunded state mandates. Altogether, this proposal deviates from Governor Cuomo’s budget in ways that are only detrimental to New Yorkers.
If the Majority’s budget were to be enacted as the final budget, Albany would have increased taxes by $15 billion in the last three years alone. These taxes would force businesses to close and would keep food off the table for millions of New Yorkers. The latest in a string of foolish proposals to be introduced is the “baby tax”, a $170 million assessment on hospitals for obstetric care. Clearly, for some misguided politicians in Albany, the taxing cycle is not complete until people are taxed from the cradle to the grave.
The budget proposal passed today in the Assembly not only enacts more taxes but also fails to address some of New York’s most pressing issues. New York’s Medicaid program spends $1 billion every week and has an annual growth rate of 13 percent, which is staggering for a program of its size. The Assembly Majority has chosen to reject Governor Cuomo’s cap on this runaway growth. Medicaid is one of the state’s largest cost drivers and the most costly program of its kind in the nation. Without a cap on growth, our Medicaid program will only grow larger, more costly, and more detrimental to the fiscal well-being of our state.
The resolution also fails to address costly unfunded state mandates placed on local governments and school districts. Unfunded mandates are the major cause of increased costs at the local level. The consequence of unabated and unchecked mandates is skyrocketing property taxes. Without relief, localities and homeowners will continue to struggle.
The Majority's answer to Governor Cuomo's budget is not focused on cost-saving measures for businesses, families and communities, or on solutions that help taxpayers and homeowners, it is the continuation of a misguided commitment to the idea that a state can tax and spend its way out of any situation. We can no longer afford to follow the destructive path of tax and spend. We need a budget that calls for tough, but fair, sacrifices that not only addresses the problems of today but institutes changes for the future. I am hopeful that, with the hard work of my colleagues and the leadership of Governor Cuomo, we can put together a budget that makes New York a better home for businesses and families.