Albany, N.Y., April 7—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, warned that the 2021-2022 state budget that increases state taxes by more than $4 billion and hikes state government spending by a whopping $18 billion could bring New York State to the edge of the fiscal cliff in the near future.
O’Mara called the state’s new $212-billion fiscal plan, which increases state spending by over 8%, roughly 4 times the CPI, ”reckless and irresponsible.” The state Senate approved the budget last night, with the state Assembly expected to follow suit later today. It will be signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
O’Mara said, “This Albany Democrat giveaway goes far beyond any reasonable sense of fairness, responsibility, or sustainability for hard-working, taxpaying citizens. Governor Cuomo and the legislative Democrat supermajorities are enacting an outrageous tax-and-spend plan that will force future generations of taxpayers to foot an enormous bill because the far-left, extremely liberal, largely New York City-based wing of the Democratic party is in control of the agenda and pushing for a wish list that leads to a fiscal and economic train wreck. This budget sets New York loose on an irresponsible, radical, out-of-control state government spending spree by blowing through a one-time federal windfall and then hoping to pay for a future of unsustainable spending with higher and higher taxes. In a state long known as one of the most highest-taxed, highest-spending states in America, this Albany Democrat vision for New York sets a new standard of recklessness. A new taxpayer-financed fund to deliver lump-sum payments to illegal immigrants is the latest example of just how out of touch it’s become.”
O’Mara was especially critical of the new, first-in-the-nation, $2.1-billion fund in this year’s budget to provide payments to undocumented immigrants who were excluded from receiving federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new fund, being called the “Excluded Workers Fund,” could mean that some recipients would be in line to receive one-time state payments of up to $15,600.
Over the past several weeks, O’Mara and members of the Senate Republican Conference have highlighted key priorities for utilizing the nearly $13 billion in federal funding that New York received through the recently enacted American Rescue Plan. The GOP priorities included the rejection of new tax hikes, across-the-board tax relief, and bolstering state reserve funds.
O’Mara said, “We had an opportunity and a responsibility to utilize this one-time federal stimulus aid under a fiscally responsible, short- and long-term strategy for the post-COVID rebuilding, restoring, and resetting of local communities, economies, environments, and governments for the long term. Equally important, we needed to recognize the fiscal challenges New York will face for the foreseeable future, steer clear of any massive new taxing and spending, and bolster the state’s emergency reserve funds. That’s not what this budget represents. It sets up an economic and fiscal disaster.”