The budget resolution put forth today by the Assembly Majority contained several measures that would enhance the quality of life for Long Island residents, but missed the mark on several matters of importance to the residents and job creators of my district.
For starters, this budget doesn’t rein in the out-of-control spending that is a hallmark of this state in past years. In fact, the Majority’s budget actually increases spending above the two-percent cap we enacted for our local governments and have stayed within statewide the past two years. This sets a bad example to our municipalities and school districts struggling to make ends meet and is unacceptable going forward.
I was pleased to see steps taken toward restoring Long Island’s fair share of school aid. The Assembly proposal partially restored the High Tax Aid formula, but it still fell far short of the amount necessary to provide our children with the quality education they deserve. As we move forward in the budget process, I plan on working to ensure we receive a full restoration of High Tax and provide relief to our homeowners and taxpayers.
Part of providing relief means eliminating unfunded mandates. These expensive requirements drive up costs on our counties, municipalities and school districts and force our property taxes to skyrocket. The budget proposal today neglected to address this serious issue and, if enacted, would place our local governments on tenuous financial footing. Unfunded mandates are an issue that need to be addressed in this year’s budget to provide taxpayers and local governments with some financial breathing room.
I was also concerned by the lack of economic development in this budget. There were no proposals put forward to alleviate our local small businesses of the burdensome taxes, fees and bureaucratic red tape that stifles the innovation necessary for our economy to move forward and create jobs for our residents.
Overall, the budget plan presented by the Assembly Majority improves upon the governor’s proposal but falls short towards addressing several key areas. As we move to pass a budget in the coming weeks, I plan on working to pass a budget that provides real tax relief and job creation to Long Island residents.
Assemblyman Edward Ra is a member of the New York State Assembly representing the 21st District. Due to 2012 redistricting, the new 19th District will cover portions of New Hyde Park, Garden City Park and Mineola. He is a Republican from Franklin Square.