ALBANY, 03/30/14 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today commented on the agreed on 2014-15 state budget:
“Key concerns communicated to me from those who live and work in my district – education aid, property tax relief, and job creation incentives – are the cornerstones of this new state budget.
“My strong advocacy helped lead to a $1.1 billion increase in school aid that focuses on the neediest school districts and helps greatly reduce the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) which is causing major financial stress. The budget also targets Common Core deficiencies, with funding to help better implement higher standards, and measures to delay and do away with unnecessary standardized tests.
“Property tax relief, long a priority of mine, is also front and center. Building on the successful STAR program and property tax cap, this budget will help stifle one of the biggest bills homeowners face with $1.5 billion in direct property tax relief over the next three years.
“The plan will also spark job growth by eliminating taxes that handcuff our upstate manufacturers. Energy taxes will go down for all ratepayers, and increasing the estate tax exemption will help preserve small businesses and encourage young farmers to follow the family tradition.
“Additionally, the budget boosts the EPIC prescription drug program for senior citizens, includes new funding to help repair our roads, increases support for the Environmental Protection Fund, and hikes tuition assistance to help more New Yorkers afforded a college education.
“Overall, the fiscally responsible budget, which is set to be adopted on time for a fourth consecutive year, meets real needs, and opens doors to new opportunities.”