Hawley: Budget Is More Of The Same

April 1, 2007

The state Legislature today enacted an approximately $122 billion state budget, a spending plan that was passed late for the first time in three years. Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) expressed disappointment in the negotiation process and the state’s fiscal plan calling both “irresponsible and more of the same.”

“Certainly there was some good in this budget,” said Hawley. “Funding for education and health care in the budget is important, but when you look at it as a whole, the budget is a major disappointment for the overburdened taxpayers of this state.

“This government is continuing its trend of living beyond its means as it continues to spend beyond the rate of inflation and offers no measures for paying down the state debt. Instead of setting a benchmark for fiscal responsibility for citizens and municipalities, our state government becomes an example of how to inefficiently handle money.”

Last-minute negotiations yielded the return of STAR rebate checks for the new fiscal year. Hawley, an opponent of the rebate checks says homeowners would see greater savings by subtracting the actual property tax savings from the gross amount and paying the difference. “We could have a larger tax savings for property owners this way,” Hawley added.

Hawley explained that last year's rebate checks cost $1 million for postage alone and another $1.3 million in administrative costs. “That $2.3 million should have been returned to overburdened taxpayers,” said Hawley.

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.”

“A good budget is one person’s perception, but from my point of view, it fails the people of this state in areas that required the most attention,” Hawley added.