Assemblyman Pete Lopez commented on Governor Eliot Spitzer’s budget proposal today. Lopez said that he agrees with many of the governor’s stated goals, though he feels the proposed budget spends too much.
In his State of the State address, Spitzer spoke of the need to “rein in spending.” However, Lopez says Spitzer did not fulfill that aim, as his proposed budget will increase spending by about six percent – nearly twice the rate of inflation.
“Initially, I believed the budget would focus on slowing spending growth,” said Lopez. “While the governor stated that is indeed his goal, we need to make this a reality, and send a positive signal to our families and small business that New York state is a place where we all have a future.”
The governor proposes much needed property tax relief aimed at middle class families, through an expansion of the STAR program. Without a cap in school spending, it remains to be seen if this will help control local tax levies. When STAR was first put in place, property owners saw immediate relief. This relief quickly faded, however, as school construction projects and annual spending outpaced the STAR benefit. As the governor seeks additional state aid for schools, his STAR proposal may have the unintended consequence of encouraging greater levies against our local tax rolls. In turn, this may only be a shift, not true reform, Lopez noted.
“Today begins our important job of reaching out to communities and sharing the details and impact of the budget,” Lopez said. “I am looking for feedback and recommendations from the people of the 127th district, my partners in this important process.”