Generally, this state budget is the fourth consecutive, on-time, fiscally responsible budget. It addresses the need to control spending, assist the middle class and improve educational opportunities for our children.
The budget does miss a golden opportunity to implement a full campaign finance program for all state elections, which would have addressed the issue of campaign corruption and the influence of large monetary donations, an issue that has plagued Albany for decades. I participated in the city’s campaign finance program while in the City Council and believe that its system, and subsequent elections, is much more regulated than the state’s elections.
Another item eliminated from the final state budget was the Education Investment Tax Credit (EITC), which would have helped many private, parochial and yeshiva schools.
Aside from the increased amount of school and library funding, and a major expansion of UPK, this budget correctly identifies the need to make immediate changes to the implementation of Common Core.
The legislators have heard from our parents, teachers, administrators and even our children. We have heard them and we have acted. If the legislature is not convinced these changes are moving ahead quickly and in the right direction, we’re prepared to do additional changes.
The state budget has identified that Common Core implementation needed to be addressed.
Real Estate Tax Credit
Since this was a rare state budget with a surplus of funds, it rightfully sought to provide property tax relief to homeowners and renters. Individuals who pay some of the highest taxes in the country, will be given a credit based upon their income level and real estate taxes paid.
This budget takes a positive step towards addressing corruption and impropriety in the state government with credible ethics reform. I am hopeful that further reforms can be made post-budget to continue the advancements made by the Public Trust Act.