ALBANY, NY—Senator Sue Serino today released the following statement in response to the passage of a State Budge that fails Hudson Valley residents:
“At the start of the budget debates, more than one member of the new majority argued that we shouldn’t worry about the new taxes they are creating like the bag tax, because eventually people will ‘forget about it,’ arguing that paying the tax will simply become second nature. While that may be true, it doesn’t make it right, and it set the tone for every bill they produced.
Whether it’s a new tax on paper bags, prescription medications, internet purchases, commuters, or businesses, it is clear that the new majority did not think twice about balancing their budget on the backs of hard-working New Yorkers, and they have only one answer to the state’s many problems: increase taxes.
Budgets are a mixed bag, and you always have to determine whether the good outweighs the bad for your local community. They are about priorities. While I am glad to see that the new majority followed our lead and fought for a permanent property tax cap, a restoration of the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer-to-Peer Program and a forensic audit for the MTA—initiatives I have been fighting for since taking office—they tied their passage to countless money-grabs and misguided policy proposals that will only continue to tax and spend residents right out of New York.
One-party control, dominated by New York City legislators has resulted in a budget that:
- creates new taxes on everything from paper bags to prescription medications;
- shortchanges our local schools in comparison to other areas of the state;
- continues to throw countless tax dollars at a broken MTA;
- fails to restore a single dollar for Lyme and tick-borne diseases;
- leaves seniors vulnerable to elder abuse by failing to fund the extended elder abuse hotline operating hours;
- puts criminals over law-abiding citizens by disregarding valuable input provided by law enforcement and district attorneys;
- will close three state prisons with only ninety days notice;
- cuts funding for local governments as well as local roads and bridges across the state;
- dedicates $27 million to fund the DREAM Act allowing illegal immigrants to access SUNY and CUNY tuition benefits; and
- opens the door to allow $100 million to be dedicated to welfare for politicians—taxpayer-funded campaigns.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This budget does nothing to make New York more affordable, create real jobs or empower small businesses.
In addition to these budget bills, the Senate’s new majority passed two resolutions without any advance public input. Currently in New York, anyone convicted of a drug-related offense loses their driver’s license for six months. The new majority passed a resolution that would make a significant policy change and jeopardize public safety by completely reversing this longstanding law.
Even worse, as multiple members of the majority pointed to various budget shortfalls as justification for their failure to fund some critically important programs, they ultimately voted to pass a resolution that would authorize a raise for both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor to bring their salaries to $250,000 and $225,000, respectively.
This budget absolutely does not deliver for our local communities. I am voting 'no' on these bills and these misguided resolutions today, despite my unwavering support for a permanent property tax cap and a limited handful of other programs, because I know that ultimately this budget will not move our communities forward, it will only continue to move New Yorkers out of our state.”