“It’s been a while since New York has passed a budget that is not only on time but reasonable. Our state faced seemingly insurmountable challenges this year, which compounded the frustrations of closing a $10 billion deficit all while trying to boost our stagnant economy and get New York’s unemployed back to work. We met these challenges head-on and passed a budget that closes our deficit and cuts spending by two percent, without adding to our debt or the tax burden on families. I voted in favor of the majority of budget bills.
“It has been a priority of mine to encourage private-sector job growth in our state and end our dependence on government bureaucracy to turn our economic engine. In fact, I believe this is exactly what was holding New York back.
“Items like government consolidation give New York a real opportunity to curb the rampant spending that has created one of the most hostile business and tax environments in our nation. Furthermore, boosts to the Excelsior Jobs Program, over $200 million to the Empire State Development Corporation, and reducing costs to business through programs like the Recharge NY energy program are exactly what is needed to jumpstart our economy. Additionally, I am pleased to see that $411,000 worth of agriculture funding remained in the budget for the Pro-Dairy program, which was originally at risk of being removed entirely.
“While I welcome the enactment of these measures, it remains clear to me that the Upstate region continues to get the short end of the stick. Although the restoration of $300 million in school aid funds is wonderful, the inequity of the formula unfairly shifts a larger burden of cuts on Upstate students. I also am concerned with the lack of details regarding prison and youth facility closures. Vague assurances that the cuts will be distributed evenly across the state are not enough, as many of the facilities are from the Upstate region in the first place. I will continue to fight vigilantly for my district in these matters until the very end.
“I am encouraged by the tone of cooperation that presented itself in this year’s budget process and hope it continues throughout the rest of the legislative year and for years to come.”