Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) today expressed his displeasure with the 2009-10 State Budget and the secret negotiations used to hammer out a deal.
“The budget was agreed upon in secret closed-door meetings that involved the state’s three legislative leaders, Governor Paterson (D – Harlem), Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D – Queens) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D – Manhattan/Chinatown) – all from New York City – with no input from other elected representatives.
“The state budget, details of which were hashed out at the last minute under a cloud of secrecy, lacked the transparency and openness that New Yorkers deserve. Albany’s dysfunction once again reared its ugly head at a time when the state is in the midst of a recession and is struggling to survive with a $17 billion budget deficit.
“The $132 billion spending plan calls for a ten percent increase, or $10.5 billion in spending, over last year and includes $7 billion in new taxes and fees. In addition, the budget eliminates the critical STAR Rebate program that provides middle-income homeowners with $1.7 billion in relief from skyrocketing property taxes. More taxes and no property tax relief is the last thing that New Yorkers need right now. Raising taxes through “hidden” fees will force more New Yorkers to flee the state in search of less expensive areas and will further erode the state’s tax base. The governor is retaining $1 billion from the federal stimulus program (newly printed money) and I challenge him to use it all to reinstate the STAR Rebate program
“The budget will also include a 50% reduction in VLT funding that will leave municipalities that depend on this money holding the bag. The City of Batavia will see a cut of $314,849, the Town of Batavia $114,563 and Genesee County $143,137. This lack of funding will force municipalities to pass along the added burden to taxpayers.
“The budget spends too much, taxes too much and does nothing to solve the state’s fiscal problems. New Yorkers are struggling everyday to pay their bills and put food on the table, and placing additional tax burdens on their backs will only further the struggle. New Yorkers deserve better, and for this reason I have voted no on the entire 2009-10 state budget.”