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January 22, 2020 - 10:50am

Reactions to Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget

posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, news, steve hawley, Ed Rath, NYS Association of Counties.

Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his proposed budget for 2020-2021. His budget press release is too long to put on the home page. You can read it here. Below are reactions we've received to the budget proposal.

From Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“The governor made a lot of promises Tuesday, specifically to increase funding across the board for every program in the state, including an out-of-control Medicaid program that is the root cause behind a $6 billion deficit. In fiscal year 2018 alone, New York spent more on Medicaid than Texas and Florida combined, despite having around half the population.

“The national economy is booming in almost every metric, yet under one-party leadership in New York, we are facing a massive shortfall. Every indication says we need to roll back reckless spending, but Gov. Cuomo continues his handouts, even blaming counties and local governments for causing the state’s woes.

“As budget negotiations intensify, I will be working diligently to see that the governor sticks to his word of no new taxes and that his deficit does not fall on the backs of hardworking taxpayers. Whether it’s property tax relief, road and bridge repair or school funding, Western New York deserves its fair share of help, and I will continue to be a strong advocate on our behalf as the budget is determined over the coming months."

From Ed Rath, candidate for the 61st State Senate District:

“Faced with a $6.5 billion budget gap, I was hoping the Governor would outline some specifics on how he planned to address that shortfall, particularly as it relates to Medicaid. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the proposed budget the people of New York State heard today. Medicaid accounts for two-thirds of the projected budget shortfall, but the Governor was woefully short on specifics in how he plans to generate the $2.5 billion in savings needed to offset Medicaid spending.

"Similarly, and equally disappointing, the budget proposal fails to reform the cash bail law. Instead, public safety and judicial discretion are being compromised, and a misguided and dangerous policy remains in effect.

“I was pleased to see a focus on education, and I hope that there is adequate funding for our schools to meet their increased financial needs.”

“However, any measure to address and strengthen our state’s business climate is mixed. On one hand, I was also pleased to see that middle-class tax cuts are expected to generate $4.7 million in savings, and that small corporate business tax cuts will generate an estimated $35 million. This is the sort of approach we need to help spur job creation and retention so that companies and workers can remain in our great Empire State, rather than continue to flee to other states. Unfortunately, the budget proposal also includes $51 million in tax and fee increases, which only serve to continue to shift the burden onto the backs of the hardworking people of New York.

“Overall, it seems that any attempt at a step forward in this budget is coupled with two steps backward or deafening silence on how our elected leaders plan to make New York stronger. The people of New York deserve more.”

The 61st Senate District includes portions of Erie, Genesee, and Monroe Counties.

Rath has served in the Erie County Legislature since first winning election in 2007. His district includes Amherst, Clarence, Akron, and Newstead. In the Legislature, he has been a fierce advocate for the reduction and reform of County government to lower the property tax burden, including co-sponsoring the effort to reduce the size of the Legislature from 15 to the current 11 seats. Throughout his 12 years in office, Rath has never voted in favor of a tax increase, and he voted against Erie County’s 2020 spending plan, due to runaway spending increases and public safety concerns.

New York Farm Bureau:

“Governor Cuomo’s proposed funding of $29 million is integral to the success of a number of important agricultural programs that support research, marketing and promotion of New York farm products. In addition, New York Farm Bureau supports the proposed Environmental Protection Fund that assists with conservation and stewardship programs utilized by farmers across the state.

"This year, Governor Cuomo also is proposing several new budget changes that are among our organization’s biggest priorities for the year. This includes a permanent Refundable Investment Tax Credit for farmers, increasing funding for the Farmworker Housing Program to $15 million and expanding the definition of family that was severely limiting in the recently enacted farm labor law. The budget language will better reflect the reality on farms today as many extended family members also play significant roles on farms and should not be covered under new farm labor regulations. These additions will begin to offset the increased labor costs facing our state’s farms, and we thank Governor Cuomo and his administration for continuing to work with New York Farm Bureau to address these issues.”

From the NYS Association of Counties President John F. (Jack) Marren:

In 1966, the State’s new Medicaid program cost county homeowners and businesses $112 million in local property taxes. Today, that cost is $7.6 billion.

More than 50 years later, in 2013, to address property taxes at the local level, the state capped increases in local Medicaid costs. On behalf of the 62 counties, including the boroughs of New York City, we are grateful to Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for championing the State's cap on local Medicaid cost growth. It has proven to be an historic safeguard against property tax growth.

Once again, counties stand united behind lowering the cost of Medicaid and improving the quality of care for those in need. We will review what is under local control to accomplish this, as well as what parameters are under state control, to insure the integrity of the taxpayer-funded health care program.

As with any organization, today’s health care costs, especially those embedded in Medicaid, are inherently systemic. Right now more than one third of New York’s population is on Medicaid, more and more Baby Boomers are accessing costly long-term care, and other medical coverage—from prescriptions to X-rays to hospital stays.

Counties stand ready to work with a Medicaid Redesign Team to assist the state with reforming its Medicaid Program.

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