STATEMENT BY SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER DEAN SKELOS
I applaud Governor Paterson for embracing the recommendation by Senate Republicans that he get rid of the tax and fee hikes in his budget, as indicated by news reports. It’s a good start, but there is much more to be done.
Our conference opposed all of the Governor’s tax hikes when they were first proposed in December and we advised him to eliminate all of them when it became clear that federal stimulus money made the increases unnecessary. Last week, we outlined a budget plan that demonstrates how to do so, while still making critical investments in education, health care and jobs.
While rescinding some of the tax increases is good news, the Governor does not go far enough. His budget still includes the elimination of $1.7 billion in property tax rebates and tax relief for New York City and includes billions more in taxes on businesses and individuals.
The Governor cancelled a planned public leaders meeting today and is planning a press conference together with Speaker Silver and Senator Smith, reportedly to pat themselves on the back for getting rid of taxes that never should have been proposed to begin with.
The three Democrats from New York City need to come out from behind closed doors and tell the people of this state what they plan to do about the rest of the budget. With April 1st only three weeks away, the Governor needs to show some real leadership and the Speaker and Senator Smith need to put their budget proposals on the table so we can begin a public debate on how best to use the federal stimulus monies to address out budget needs and the needs of the state going forward.