Griffo Says Budget is A Disaster for New York Families

Joseph A. Griffo

August 04, 2010

Griffo: Disastrous State Budget Means Families Pay More, Get Less

(Utica) - State Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-IP-C, Rome), a staunch advocate of fiscal and legislative reform, today called the adopted state budget “a disaster for the middle class families of Upstate New York.”

Griffo noted that among the taxes inserted into the budget by the New York City Democratic leadership was one to take away the exemption on paying sales tax on clothing and footwear costing under $110. “Just in time for back-to-school, at a time when families are trying to stretch paychecks and unemployment checks to their maximum, the State will dip into the wallets of the middle class for even more money instead of trying to control state spending and end the waste, fraud and abuse. Removing the sales tax was a boost for businesses; putting it back on will hurt economic development at a time when we need to be working with businesses not against them.”

Griffo also called attention to the way that the projected shortfall in Medicaid was dealt with.  “I am concerned with the abdication of responsibility shown by the leadership of Albany,” he said. “We know Medicaid is rife with waste, fraud and abuse. We know that the people who pay for this program cannot continue to pay for a program that offers the most generous array of services in the country.  Instead of taking serious actions to control the cost of the program, the Legislature only had the option of dealing with a contingency plan to deal with a potential loss of funds.  We still need to get to the root of the problem – the excessive expense of Medicaid in this state. ”

Griffo said the budget was a disgrace. “The secret to this budget was clear from the start: Spend as little as possible and tax even less, because the people of New York State do not have endless resources they can pay out to the politicians. Instead, this budget increases spending, increases taxes and perpetuates a culture that the state is above acting responsibly.”

Griffo pointed to how other legislative issues were also snuck into the budget agreement. “I was very disappointed to see the incorporation of non-budget issues, such as the consideration of prisoner and non-permanent resident counts, were shoe-horned into the budget agreement,” Griffo said. “There were issues that needed to be viewed on their own, not buried in a budget bill.”

Griffo said the long drawn-out budget has little to show for all the time wasted. “This budget process, with all of the insider dealings and political horse-trading is a textbook lesson in why New York State needs reform. I will continue to work for the types of legislative and budgetary reform we need to ensure that budgets are adopted on time, that they reflect the needs of average people and not the insiders, and that they tackle the tough problems instead of making local governments pay, pay and pay some more for the misdeeds of the majority party.”