The budget makes important investments in education, health care and job creation, yet still spends hundreds of millions of dollars less than the one presented to us in January. For Senate Republicans, protecting the hardworking taxpayer was our number one priority, and we succeeded. We said no to a massive increase in personal income taxes. We said no to an increase in car registration fees. We said no to higher gasoline taxes. We said no to new health insurance taxes. And we said yes to across the board spending cuts in State government.
The Senate rejected a plan that would have shifted a larger share of the costs for certain programs to counties, that would have added $83 million to the local property tax burden and rejected a plan that would have shifted $46 million in new costs to school districts. All of these actions in the budget, initiated by the Senate, will help limit the pressure on local property taxpayers.
As we negotiated this budget, the Senate paid the most attention to the taxpayers who pay for State spending. They must come first. In this time of growing economic hardship, we must be fiscally responsible. Instead of supporting increased broad based taxes to fuel more spending, we focused on tightening the belt of State government, and this budget actually spends hundreds of millions of dollars less than the Executive Budget proposed in January.
Governor Paterson has said that next year he will look to cut State bureaucracy even more to put a lid on spending and we applaud him for that and look forward to him keeping his word.
He can start today by supporting our proposal to establish a constitutional State spending cap that will tie his hands, and ours, going forward and limit State spending and the taxes needed to pay for that spending. By urging the Assembly to join the Senate in giving first passage to that amendment before we adjourn, he can demonstrate his commitment to spending restraint next year and in the future.