Solutions for Upstate
The issues facing our great State are vast. Our solutions must be firm and comprehensive. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I will continue to oppose any effort to balance the budget on the backs of Upstate taxpayers just as I opposed the 2009-2010 State budget last April. I have been working hard to address the great issues that are impacting New York, especially those with the greatest consequences for our region:
• Capping State Spending and ensuring that government cannot continue to intrude on our lives must be enacted. I am fighting aggressively to make sure that a spending binge- like what happened in this latest budget- never happens again by strongly supporting an amendment that would sharply limit State spending increases. New York State must learn to live within its means and maintain a balanced budget.
• Rescinding Health Care Taxes that were imposed on insurance premiums is absolutely essential as New York State families continue to struggle with affordable healthcare. The 2009-2010 increased taxes on healthcare premiums for businesses by more than one-third. Our job-producing businesses cannot afford this increase and have been forced to pass the cost on to their employees.
• Department of Motor Vehicle Taxes have disproportionately impacted Upstate New York, as we do not have the same access to public transportation that Downstate residents enjoy. The budget increased registration fees by 25% and has mandated that every driver buy new license plates whether or not they are needed.. We need to remove this mandate to ensure that your hard-earned dollars remain your hard-earned dollars. You can join the fights against these new taxes and fees by visiting www.nysenate.gov/press-release/fight-new-taxes-driving.
• Removing Hunting and Fishing License Fee Increases that have also impacted Upstate harshly is important for many of our residents and businesses. Fewer sportsmen are applying for their licenses this year because of sharp increases in license fees. This is negatively impacting small businesses that rely on hunters and fishermen. We must remedy this unfair fee increase as quickly as possible.
• Cutting General Fund Spending by the $2.2 billion that was added to the 2009-2010 budget by the New York City legislators who controlled the budget process is necessary to stabilize our State’s economy. This action will send a strong message to taxpayers and businesses that New York will do its part in spending responsibly.
• The 2% Energy Tax that was included in the 2009-2010 New York State budget has negatively impacted every single resident and business across the State. This assessment was the last straw for many Upstate manufacturers, who have since closed their doors as a result. That is why I have authored and introduced legislation (S.6132) that would remove this onerous tax. Thousands of New Yorkers have supported my online petition drive on this issue. If you have not done so already, you can support this legislation by visiting www.senatornozzoliopetition.com.
• Streamlining State Agencies and reducing State agency non-personal services will save New York nearly $500 million. Reducing waste and duplication of services while making agencies more user friendly must be done to save our taxpayers time and money. We must change the punitive nature of all of our State agencies and direct them to assist taxpayers and businesses, not drive them out of New York.
• Reinstating Welfare and Medicaid Anti-Fraud Protections and curbing unmandated Medicaid spending will save New York hundreds of millions of dollars without negatively impacting the individuals who need and rely on the program. Combating fraud and waste must become a central goal of our fight to grow our State’s economy.
• Placing a Freeze on Purchases of recreational lands and reducing every State agency’s budget until the State is fiscally sound will allow New York to save nearly $400 million and prevent any new taxes from being levied on our residents.
• The STAR Property Tax Rebate was an important program that was abolished in the last New York State budget. The rebate program provided much needed financial relief for many of our residents on fixed incomes, especially senior citizens. It is vital that we restore this program, which is why I have begun a State-wide petition achieve this objective. You can sign my petition by visiting www.nysenate.gov/press-release/join-fight-restore-star-rebates.