State Senator Hugh T. Farley (R,C - Schenectady) announced on January 26th that the Senate Finance Committee released the staff analysis of the 2006-07 proposed Executive Budget that concludes that past tax reductions and increased accountability in State spending has strengthened the state’s financial picture, resulting in a record-high reserves, as well as a strong surplus that should be used to fund tax cuts and increase investments in education, health care and job creation efforts.
The report projects a general fund surplus this year of $3.3 billion, including a $552 million reserve being used to accelerate tax refunds.
The Senate Majority has proposed a $2.4 billion property tax reduction plan that includes direct rebate checks to taxpayers and an expansion of the STAR program. In addition, the Senate Majority will not back any new tax increases in the budget.
The Senate Finance Committee staff report illustrates the dramatic recovery of the state’s financial condition since the economic downturn that resulted from the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Since 1995, New York State has enacted tax cuts that will save taxpayers a cumulative total of more than $167 billion by 2008-09. The tax cuts have made New York State more economically competitive and resulted in a record high total of $7.2 billion in combined reserves for 2005-06 and 2006-07, compared to less than one billion in reserves in 2002-03.
Members of the Senate Majority Conference have formed individual subcommittees that are reviewing the Executive Budget and will make recommendations to the conference that will become the Senate’s budget proposal. The Senate’s budget plan will serve as the basis for conference committee budget negotiations.