Over the last few weeks, the governor has made some significant promises that could help improve the quality of life right here in Western New York. For the first time, it seemed he was finally on-track with the major problems facing the success of Western New York’s middle class. Unfortunately, his vision of hope comes at too hefty a price tag and today, any hopes we had of this vision being realized evaporated.
With the unveiling of his Executive Budget proposal, the governor increases the tax burden already plaguing our state with additional spending and cuts to the STAR rebate program. Now is not the time to be spending more. This is also not the time to ignore the property tax problem that is strangling our Western New York economy. Why is the governor delaying this much-needed relief? Why are programs, like Medicaid, allowed to escalate to include every program available? No other state has offered carte blanche Cadillac programs. We cannot continue to be all things to all people. We need to learn how to say “enough is enough” – we can’t afford to continue spending money we don’t have. We need property tax relief. Instead, we should be addressing Medicaid fraud and recovering these funds to lessen the burden on taxpayers. The governor’s budget only includes $500 million out of the $4.5 billion in Medicaid fraud – we need to do more.
Governor Spitzer has also backed out of his promise to increase funding for our schools and his healthcare proposal is going to increase costs, which will be passed on to taxpayers. To add fuel to the fire, the governor is planning to raise taxes on gasoline and auto insurance. This is not the hope that New Yorkers, especially here in Western New York, were looking for.
The governor is correct that tough choices need to be made, but not at the expense of our state’s hard-working middle-class. On that front, I will not compromise.