Albany, NY, March 27, 2013— Early this morning, the New York State Senate passed the final bills in the budget package for Fiscal Year 2013-2014.
New York State Senator Brad Hoylman reserved the bulk of his comments for the debate over the revenue bill and delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor:
“Mr. President, Groucho Marx once said:
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
That's what this revenue bill does. It diagnoses the incorrect problem and applies the wrong remedies.
Mr. President, the problem with New York's economy is not taxes on families with children earning between $40,000 and $300,000.
And certainly the remedy is not tax cuts in the form of $350 checks to be distributed to these families -- or should I specify voters -- at election time, to the tune of $410M.
Mr. President, is this so-called middle class tax cut meant to stimulate the economy? Or stimulate voters?
Numerous studies on tax cuts, including one released just last year by the non-partisan Congres- sional Budget Office, have shown that cuts of this size don't stimulate spending and economic growth. If we're lucky, we'll get a few thousand new owners of flat screen televisions.
Mr. President, here is how the $410M in middle class tax cuts could have been specially used to protect the most vulnerable in our society:
• Restored the full $120 million in OPWDD cuts;
• Increased community college base aid to $300 per FTE, which is an increase of $30.8 million;
• Provided $25 million to start up the Dream Act;
• Provided $35 million in additional funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program to enable the program to serve twice as many youth;
• Provided $15 million for the Displaced Homemaker Program;
• Provided $35 million in funding for food pantries throughout New York State;
• Provided $17.5 million in additional funding for the Advantage Aftercare Program that assists working parents with child care;
• Restored $5.4 million to the New York State AIDS Institute;
• Restored $20.5 million to dozens of public health programs so that we’re investing in keeping people healthy rather than paying far more in treatment-focused spending
• Provided $10 million in additional funding for Child Advocacy Centers that assist youth in the foster care system;
• Provided $10 million in additional Kinship Care funding to assist family who are caring for family members;
• Provided $25 million in additional funding for Post-Adoption Services to assist financially those who have adopted children;
• Provided $25 million in additional funding for Non-Residential Domestic Violence services;
• Provided $10.7 million in additional funding for the Nurse Family Partnership to promote healthy families;
• and Provided $25 million in additional funding for Emergency Homeless needs of those in cities with populations in excess of one million.
Mr. President, it is my belief this budget makes a choice between election year budget gimmicks that will have no discernible impact on our economy and protecting the most needy and vulnerable in our society.
And it makes the wrong choice.
For this reason, Mr. President, I vote against this bill.”