Before the passage of the 2021-22 budget, New York was facing an estimated $7 billion shortfall. Rather than abandoning its tax-and-spend philosophy, the Majority relied on the federal government to fill the deficit. The federal government sent $28.3 billion to New York state; $12.6 billion was unrestricted, which if utilized wisely, would avoid future deficits while financing most of the state’s needs.
This $12.6 billion found its way into a bloated budget, including $5 billion in new taxes amounting to a record-setting $212 billion, an amount greater than the budgets of Texas and Florida combined.
Rather than focusing on uncontrolled spending, New York should have focused on accountability and transparency in all of its programs so the future financial stability of New York would be achieved.
There are many positive aspects of the budget that benefit all areas of New York; however, the many bloated aspects have set up our great state for a fiscal disaster. Throughout my tenure in the Assembly, I have consistently called for increased funding for education, Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) and the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS); as well as Extreme Winter Recovery.
I was pleased these efforts have been recognized and the shortcomings have been addressed for local roads, schools and infrastructure, as well as broadband, libraries, veterans’ workforce development and developmental disabilities.
As a result of a push by the downstate, self-proclaimed Political Socialists, over $2 billion found its way into the budget to provide unemployment payments worth more than $15,000 per individual for undocumented workers who did not qualify for federal unemployment.
To satisfy the Majority’s desire to tax and spend through tax increases on high earners and corporations, we will continue to fuel the exodus of taxpaying citizens from New York, taking with them their tax dollars.
This budget continues to remove local control over land use within the jurisdictional boundaries of towns, villages and cities by further limiting their zoning and tax authority over massive solar and wind projects. This equates to a form of eminent domain without just compensation.
Although there were many positive aspects of this $212 billion budget, I cannot support a spendthrift plan that does not recognize the importance of sustainability and financial stability for New York’s taxpayers.
My no vote on this budget was cast to protect the future of our state, the hard working citizens, our children and the constituents of the 145th Assembly District.”