Statement From Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I,Ref-Canandaigua) On Passage Of The 2018-19 State Budget
“Albany’s annual tradition of closed-door negotiations, conducting public work without public input, and cramming a 12-month fiscal plan in a two-day, last-minute sprint has come to a close.
We met a deadline, but failed to meet our most basic obligations.
New York is the highest-taxed state in the nation. It is the most corrupt state in the nation. It loses more of its residents than any state in the nation. Nothing in the final 2018-19 Budget is going to change those embarrassing realities.
Upstate New Yorkers are an afterthought to the downstate crises caused by years of mismanagement by this administration, a childish feud with Mayor de Blasio and the complete absence of an upstate voice at the negotiating table.
This budget makes expensive commitments to bail out Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio’s failing programs and misguided personal agendas. It directs millions to fix the subway and mass transit system, raises the costs on consumers for ride-sharing services; addresses the deplorable condition of New York City public housing, begins renovations at Penn Station and the overhaul of Rikers Island – all that have been neglected under the Cuomo administration.
Upstate communities have been losing population, jobs and economic opportunities for more than a decade. Yet this spending plan fails to directly address those issues or even glance at the hardships being felt north of the Tappan Zee Bridge.
New Yorkers deserved much better than what they received. The 2018-19 Budget:
- fails to contain any meaningful, broad-based mandate relief to reduce property taxes for homeowners;
- continues to direct millions in taxpayer dollars to advertising for the failing START-UP NY program;
- makes no reforms to increase transparency and oversight of the state’s economic development programs; and
- fails to address the culture of corruption that has resulted in multiple convictions of public officials.
This budget is another poorly crafted stopgap that sets misguided priorities, rather than delivering policies that New York’s economy needs. Fortunately, there are some elements of the final spending plan that will benefit families and communities across the state. Some of those measures include:
- a substantial increase in education funding, nearly $1 billion over last year’s commitment;
- rejecting $1 billion in new taxes proposed by the governor and Assembly Democrats;
- investing in higher education by increasing Community College Base Aid by $100 per student and restoring $24.6 million in aid to private not-for-profit colleges;
- providing necessary funding to direct care workers to ensure they receive a competitive wage and relieve workforce pressure; and
- restoration of $4 million in library aid while adding an additional $1 million for these critical community assets.
The end of the flawed budget process does not represent the end of our work. With the budget process complete, we have a fresh opportunity to fix New York and correct some of the errors of the final spending plan. I look forward to getting back to work for the people of New York.”