ALBANY - The state budget just unveiled by legislative leaders “is a disgrace,” said Senator Catharine Young (R,I,C-Olean).
“The economy is in the tank, people are losing their jobs, families are having a tough time making ends meet, and the three men in a room, all New York City Democrats, come up with a budget in secret that is the hugest tax hike and spending spree in the history of the state,” she said.
The budget is a whopping $132 billion and features about $10 billion in tax and fee increases, and $10.5 in new spending -- seven times the rate of inflation -- when the state is in a recession, according to Sen. Young.
“It eliminates the STAR rebate check for beleaguered property taxpayers, piles taxes on health insurance coverage, and jacks up utility taxes. Every consumer in the state will have to pay higher monthly bills for electricity, natural gas and telephone service. We already have the highest energy costs in the country, and now they are making it worse. Seniors on fixed incomes and middle-class families will be hit hard,” she said.
“It also will kill jobs. The personal income tax hike should be called the ‘pink slip tax’ instead. There are almost 70,000 small businesses across the state that will be crippled by this money grab,” she said.
People will pay more for hunting and fishing licenses, car registrations, driver’s licenses, sending their kids to college, renting a car, and even buying bottled water or beer, according to Sen. Young.
“Despite soaring unemployment, this budget contains no new initiatives to create jobs for workers or to improve the state’s hard-hit economy, especially Upstate. Instead, jobs will continue to disappear, and the ranks of the unemployed and uninsured undoubtedly will increase. It’s a crime,” she said.
“There is no tax relief, no consolidation of government or services, and no mandate relief in this budget. Gov. Paterson and the Democrats in the Legislature have missed a huge opportunity to make structural reforms that would ensure New York’s long-term fiscal health,” Sen. Young said.
“This fiscal train wreck didn’t have to happen. There are better alternatives. A few weeks ago, Senate Republicans came up with a plan that would have eliminated all of the tax hikes, effectively used the $25 billion in federal stimulus money, and put into place an economic growth plan for small businesses and manufacturers. That plan was ignored by the Governor and the Democrats,” she said.
“Instead, they tax too much, spend too much, and make hardworking New Yorkers pay for it,” she added.
“There’s a reason why they cooked up this budget in secret -- they had a lot to hide,” she said.
Sen. Young said that she and the Senate Republicans will be offering up a series of amendments during the budget votes.
“It only takes only one Democrat to say no to this budget. If one person votes no, they won’t have enough votes to pass it. Let’s hope they do the right thing, for the sake of our state’s future,” she said.