Monthly Column: 2012 State Budget passes ahead of schedule
By Michael H. Ranzenhofer
Working together in a bi-partisan fashion with Governor Cuomo, I am pleased to report that the 2012-2013 State Budget has passed ahead of schedule for the second consecutive year. The recently adopted budget is a fiscally responsible plan that closes a $2 billion deficit by cutting spending without raising taxes. It is a plan that will help to create thousands of jobs and strengthen our economy.
For the second year in a row, overall spending has been reduced. In an effort to shrink the size of State government, the budget plan eliminates 25 repetitive, inactive boards and commissions, consolidates various departments, and implements efficiencies to reduce government expenditures.
The budget contains no new taxes or increased fees. Back in December, the State Senate enacted the Middle Class Tax Cut and Job Creation Plan, reducing tax rates for middle-class taxpayers to the lowest levels in more than 50 years. The State Budget continues our commitment to cutting taxes – a stark contrast to the $14 billion in new taxes during my first term in the State Senate.
Many of the budget’s provisions focus on creating jobs and strengthening Western New York’s economy. The budget plan creates the NY Works Program to rebuild our community’s roads and bridges in order to help get our economy back on track and produce thousands of jobs. Under the plan, Regional Economic Development Councils will have another opportunity to compete for a second round of funding, including $220 million for regional plans, $150 million in new capital funding, and $70 million in Excelsior tax credits. The budget also includes $30 million in capital funding for economic development grants as part of the NYSUNY 2020 program.
Simply put, the newly adopted budget marks two years of progress for New York State. For decades, New York State had been famous for late budgets, skyrocketing spending and massive tax hikes – not anymore.
Over the last two years, the 2011-12 and 2012-13 State Budgets have:
• Passed on time
• Reduced spending
• Excluded any new taxes or fees
• Closed $13 billion in budget deficits
• Enacted billions of dollars in tax cuts
Finally, after years of late budgets – filled with toxic tax increases and irresponsible spending hikes – New York State is now moving in the right direction. That’s good news for taxpayers and good news for our economy. As the legislative session progresses, I look forward to ensuring Albany works for the people and continues to build upon this momentum.
To find out more about the newly adopted State Budget and how it affects you, please visit my website at ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.
Senator Ranzenhofer's monthly column appeared in the Amherst, Clarence and Ken-Ton Bees on April 18, 2012.