Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie) today reacted to the secretly negotiated budget agreement:
To say I am highly disappointed in this budget agreement is a gross understatement. A few years ago we passed a law requiring public budget conference committees to negotiate the state’s budget out in the open. But now that the Democrats have taken the majority in the Senate and control all of state government, they’ve decided they no longer need to obey the law.
To get our state back on its feet we need jobs and this budget does absolutely nothing to create jobs. In fact, it includes more than $8 billion in new and higher taxes to pay for $12 billion in new spending. This amounts to a staggering increase of nearly 10% in the midst of a severe recession.
If you’re a home owner and you think your property taxes are too high now, forget about that property tax rebate check you’ve been getting. Plus you should be prepared to pay more in utility taxes. If you drive a car, it will cost you more to register it. If you have a child in a state college, the tuition will cost you more. If you hunt or fish, or rent a car or buy bottled water or beer, it will cost you more. Your health insurance costs will go up and it will cost you more every month for your cell phone. And that’s only a small portion of the ways the State Budget is going to pick your pocket.
This is what happens when a budget is negotiated in secret with no input from Republican lawmakers, and callous disregard of the public outcry for tax relief. The Democrats claimed they could do a better job if they were in complete control. We needed a prudent, trimmed down budget with innovative solutions for job creation. What we got was reckless spending. Unfortunately, for those of us in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority region there is probably more to come.