Senator Farley Reports On The Senate's State Budget Plan

Hugh T. Farley

March 19, 2007

My colleagues and I in the New York State Senate have been diligently going over the Executive budget proposal and are deeply concerned with several provisions, including the cuts to nursing homes and local hospitals. The Senate has passed its own budget -- a plan that will be fair to all New Yorkers.

When talking to constituents, I frequently hear concerns about high taxes, education and jobs. I have heard from people that they don’t want services cut at their local hospitals, they don’t want their school district shortchanged on State aid, they want greater property tax relief and they want a stronger economy.

Our plan redirects $1 billion in spending proposed in the current Executive budget to achieve the Senate's commitment to provide tax relief, prevent devastating health care cuts, provide appropriate aid to all school districts, invest in job creation and make college more affordable. Rather than taking more money from taxpayers for the government to spend, the Senate budget rejects new taxes and provides greater tax relief.

Highlights of the Senate's proposed State budget include providing more than $3 billion in tax relief, growing to $4.5 billion next year. The Senate tax cuts would deliver property tax relief on your school property taxes by tripling the size of rebate checks. In order to stimulate economic development and to promote the creation and retention of jobs, the Senate proposal would also reduce the tax burden on manufacturers and small businesses.

The Senate budget rejects health care cuts that put patients at risk, and it restores funds so that hospitals and nursing homes can hire more nurses. Our budget proposal also rejects increased health care taxes that would drive up costs.

The Senate budget would make higher education more affordable by expanding the eligibility for the State’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP); enhancing the tuition tax credit for families; establishing a student loan debt relief program; providing assistance to help veterans afford college tuition; and creating a math, science and engineering technology retention initiative for New York students.

We are moving forward on the budget with meetings of legislative conference committees. This represents a public process to resolve the differences between the budgets proposed by the Governor, Senate and the Assembly. As long as everyone involved is open and willing to negotiate and compromise, there is no reason we can’t have a budget in place by April 1st.