“Progress is continuing toward adoption of a new state budget due at the end of this month. Today’s passage of budget resolutions by the Senate and Assembly moves us closer to agreement with the governor on a new fiscal plan. The conference committee process can now begin and differences between the various proposals discussed and worked through in the next few weeks.
“The Senate resolution reflects many priorities for me and my colleagues. Clearly, strengthening the economy to encourage job creation is most important. Our plan includes tax cuts for small businesses, a provision to free-up investment capital and tax credits for companies that create new jobs.
“I’m pleased to see included a proposal I’ve introduced that would exempt privately owned ski areas from paying state sales taxes to create snow. The legislation also would encourage the use of energy-efficient snowmaking and grooming equipment by exempting their purchase from state sales taxes.
“The Senate Republican budget proposal targets $200 million in funding for upstate rural and low wealth districts. A component of the state school aid formula has unfairly targeted poorer districts and this aid would help address the inequity.
“The plan we’re pushing would accelerate the governor’s proposal to freeze county Medicaid expenses, saving counties $170 million over the next two years.
“And, we also recommend restoring funding for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program (EPIC) to reduce copayments for seniors to a maximum of $20. My office has heard from many concerned seniors who would benefit from this change and ensure they can afford the medications they need.
“Overall, the plan we’re advocating spends slightly less than the governor’s executive budget and would keep state spending below a 2 percent increase. I look forward to the next step, meeting with my Assembly colleagues on the budget conference committees and finalizing the new budget.”