By Michael H. Ranzenhofer
New York State is starting to get back on track. Our ongoing efforts – throughout the last two budget cycles – to put the State’s fiscal house back in order have started a turnaround, and it’s getting noticed too.
First, one of the nation’s top credit agencies, Standard & Poor’s, has boosted its outlook from stable to positive for New York, citing two balanced and on-time budgets in a row, deficit reduction and long-term spending reforms that reined in pension and Medicaid costs. That’s good news for taxpayers because, similar to individual credit scores, higher ratings mean lower borrowing costs and other expenses. But there is still more good news.
Second, a study commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Enterprising States, has recognized New York as one of the Top 10 Performing states in growth, productivity and livability. This ranking represents a drastic improvement from the prior year, moving up 11 spots.
Finally, it’s getting noticed that New York is starting to move in a stronger, more positive direction. Our efforts have put the State in a far different place than two years ago, when different leadership in Albany raised taxes, increased spending and borrowed for day-to-day expenses.
On the other hand, I have been able to work with Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature to take the appropriate actions to help get our State back on track by:
• Passing 2 on-time State Budgets that reduced spending
• Cutting tax rates in half for 5,000 Upstate New York manufacturers
• Reducing middle-class tax rates to the lowest levels in 58 years
• Reforming the public pension system to save taxpayers $80 billion over the next 30 years
Many of our efforts have been focused on one goal, creating more jobs. Strengthening and improving New York’s low-cost power initiative, ReCharge NY, helps create and retain jobs in Western New York. In addition, we passed job-creating tax credits to help historic preservation and the growing craft-beer industry, and established ten new Regional Economic Development Councils.
Despite all of these efforts, much more still needs to be done to strengthen our economy. That is why I was disappointed the State Assembly did not act on the 2012 New Jobs NY Job Creation plan. Among the plan’s highlights are significant measures to reduce taxes for small businesses, including a ten and twenty percent tax credit and a new tax incentive for new hires. This comprehensive plan will make our State more economically competitive so the private sector can create thousands of jobs.
As we all know, there is still a lot more work to do, but these reports are good news for taxpayers, and New York, as the outlook for the future of our State continues to improve!
Senator Ranzenhofer's Monthly Column appeared in the Amherst, Clarence and Ken-Ton Bees on September 19.