Statement On Governor's Budget Proposal

January 21, 2014

ALBANY, 01/21/14 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today commented on Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal:“I share in the governor’s optimism that we will produce a fourth straight on-time state budget that keeps spending in check, enhances private sector job growth, and delivers meaningful property tax cuts.  “We are working with a budget surplus, thanks to the fiscal responsibility exhibited over the last three years, and we must continue to budget in that vein.  In fact, I believe we need to enact a permanent state spending cap to ensure that budget restraint continues long-term.“I also believe that we need to return that surplus to the people.  The governor’s call for property tax relief and business tax cuts resonates with me and those in my district.  Broad-based tax cuts that will help property owners remain and allow businesses to expand need to be a top priority.  I will be closely reviewing the specifics of his proposals to determine if they make fiscal sense.“I liked the emphasis on education funding but there is work to do.  I have already called for an end to the gap elimination adjustment (GEA) which has greatly restricted the ability for many of my low-wealth, high-need districts to provide for students and keep property taxes in check.  While I applaud the universal pre-k initiative, we need to strike a balance, and make sure existing programs are properly funded before expanding in new areas.  “The governor’s plan to create a special commission to examine the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards is a step in the right direction.  This is a ray of hope for those of us concerned about the way the new standards have been implemented.  Improving student achievement is a reachable goal, but we won’t get there through non-stop high stakes testing, and a lack of suitable professional development for our teachers.  Real action is needed to remedy this situation.“Overall, the budget plan has promise.  As we negotiate a final plan, I will be working to ensure that the end result meets the real needs expressed to me by those who live and work in my district.”    -30-