State of the State Reactions
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb’s press release reminded lawmakers that these tax dollars come from hardworking New Yorkers.
The governor has labeled his budget proposal ‘Built To Lead,’ but we must remember that anything we build is on the backs of hard-working taxpayers.
The Executive Budget begins the process of policy discussions and developing a prudent spending plan for the next fiscal year. The governor has proposed an agenda that comes with a price tag attached. We need to see specific details and dollar figures, and over the next several weeks, lawmakers must ensure that spending remains in check.
He also outlined proposals that mirrored the conference’s goals and those he’d like seen added to the final state budget.
As Assembly Minority Leader, I was encouraged to hear the governor put forward priorities that fall in line with a number of Conference proposals, including: pension forfeitures for convicted officials, a Constitutional Convention, greater resources for our State Police and focus on public safety, tax relief for small businesses, tax credits for teachers, and a substantial investment in education.
However, over the coming months any final state budget agreement should include several measures that were not referenced today, including:
An end to the ‘three-men-in-a-room’ budget negotiations, which have enabled Albany’s culture of corruption;
A specific plan to reform Common Core, which has gone ignored for too long as frustration mounts for students, teachers and parents;
A clear commitment to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment in 2016;
Equity in the amount of infrastructure dollars spent upstate and downstate;
Acknowledgement that New York’s heroin epidemic must be addressed through stronger prevention and treatment efforts; and
Immediate, common-sense relief to localities from unfunded mandates. Competitions and consolidation will not provide the solution property taxpayers need.
We caught up with several of our members immediately following the speech for their reactions.