Hawley Comments On Spitzer Budget

February 5, 2007

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) today commented on Governor Eliot Spitzer’s first executive budget saying more should be done to provide property tax relief and control spending.

“Eliot Spitzer was elected by the people to a four-year term. I want to see four years of tax cuts, not three,” said Hawley, referring to Spitzer’s proposed three-year, $6 billion property tax relief package. “The proposed amount is simply not enough. It should be $10 billion, or $2.5 billion per year, over four years. Band-aid remedies to terminal diseases do not work. This is especially the case in homeowners’ soaring property tax rates that are forcing seniors from their homes and young people to move to states with more affordable living costs.”

Hawley also criticized how the Spitzer tax relief package delivers savings through the schools, not homeowners. “Savings need to go to the taxpayers directly, not through the schools or in the form of rebate checks. An automatic deduction at the time of an individual’s tax filing is the best way to guarantee all citizens receive the tax cut they desperately need.”

“The budget also increases spending by $6 billion. This demonstrates little restraint at a time when this government cannot afford to spend one extra dollar from a year ago. It increases spending while not having any measures in place to reduce the state’s debt. We need to enact a budget that stresses responsible spending; taxpayers cannot foot the bill for this government’s out-of-control spending and borrowing habits.”

On Medicaid reform, Hawley said little has been done to address the $4.5 billion in annual fraud, waste and abuse. “This budget calls for only $100 million in recovery. New York ranks first nationally in money lost to Medicaid fraud; one year from now, we will still be ranked number one.”

Hawley did praise the budget’s commitment to improving the state’s education system as well as the threshold increase from $50,000 to $1 million for projects that fall under the regulation of Wicks Law.