"After a month’s delay and much scrutiny highlighting the failures that defined this budget process, I hoped the Governor and the Legislative Majorities would have produced a budget that focused on addressing the needs of New Yorkers. Unfortunately, this budget falls far short of what New Yorkers deserved – both in terms of the process and in terms of the results. We are now beholden to a budget that was written behind closed doors, is full of policy items and is more than 30 days past due.
Despite the many flaws of this nearly $230 billion budget, as Ranking Member on the Senate Mental Health Committee, I was pleased to see a significant investment in mental health. I am also pleased to report that, after collaborating with local communities to voice our opposition to the Governor’s extreme housing plan, this proposal was ultimately removed from the budget. While this is a significant victory, we need to remain vigilant on future attempts by Governor Hochul to override local zoning laws.
It’s unfortunate that the bad overshadowed the few good items in this budget, leaving much more work to be done to help - not hinder - our residents. Public safety and affordability were thrown to the wayside once again as we saw no significant changes to bail reform policies and now have to contend with a newly established ban on gas appliances and heating systems, which will exacerbate utility and housing costs. This will impose a hasty transition to electric energy that New York’s grid is entirely unprepared for, which in turn will put our residents at risk when it inevitably fails to meet demands. Additionally, rather than providing critically needed tax relief for New York individuals, families, and small businesses, this budget instead provided a bailout for the MTA.
The blatant disregard for the genuine hardships faced by our taxpayers was on full display during this budget process. New Yorkers should be angry. Not just angry at the majorities’ utter lack of urgency or transparency in negotiating and passing a state fiscal plan, New Yorkers should be angry because it is clear that one-party rule is not working.
Our residents have been carrying the weight of Albany's fiscal negligence for far too long and frankly, they deserve better."