Statement From Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb On Passage Of The 2019-2020 State Budget

April 1, 2019

“The 2019-2020 Enacted State Budget is a tax-and-spend debacle and precisely the fiscal disaster many predicted would follow the new one-party Majority rule in Albany.

The apparent economic strategy of New York Majority politicians is simple: ‘Put a tax or fee on everything you see.’ Grocery bags, internet purchases, vapor products, real estate transactions, prescription medication, rental cars, commuting in and around New York City all become more expensive when this budget takes effect.

If anyone believes crime doesn’t pay, they should visit New York. This budget reinforces the pro-criminal priorities of liberal Majority politicians, who in recent months have relaxed penalties, pardoned felons, waived bail, freed cop-killers, handed out iPads to inmates, concealed mugshots, closed prisons, undermined federal law enforcement and infringed on police work.

This spending plan is good for moving companies. It’s good for people who have broken the law. It’s good for individuals who are in our country illegally. It’s good for Andrew Cuomo.

For the rest of us, everyday life becomes more expensive. Cost-of-living challenges remain and will likely worsen. More family, friends and neighbors will pack up and leave for more affordable options. The 2019-2020 State Budget:

  • shortchanges the salary needs of the dedicated professionals who care for our relatives, friends, and neighbors with disabilities and delays an inadequate pay raise until January 1, 2020;
  • cuts millions from the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP), which gives individuals in need of care the flexibility to choose their own care professional and services;
  • bans single-use plastic bags and allows counties to opt-in to a program that would charge 5 cents on paper bags, adding costs onto consumers’ grocery bills;
  • authorizes the governor to close up to three correctional facilities with only 90 days’ notice, rather than the 12 months required by law – a move that will have devastating impacts on communities and prison employees;
  • fast-tracks drastic criminal justice reforms without proper public discussion, eliminates cash bail and implements procedural changes that were vehemently opposed by local prosecutors;
  • establishes a commission to review public financing of campaigns, setting in motion the potential for taxpayers to fund political mailers, advertisements and robocalls;
  • creates unnecessary burdens on counties, towns and villages by linking $59 million of Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM) funding to local sales tax revenues;
  • fails to provide additional funding for the Consolidated Local Street & Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) for upstate roads and bridge upgrades and completely eliminates the Extreme Winter Recovery Program;
  • inexplicably cuts $20 million in library construction grants;
  • gives New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio a three-year extension on Mayoral Control of schools, despite schools underperforming on his watch; and
  • fails to increase oversight and transparency of the state’s compromised economic development programs, while giving the governor even greater authority in the Public Authorities Control Board (PACB).
It’s the Legislature and governor’s job to craft an on-time budget that delivers a financial plan that solves our state’s most-pressing fiscal problems and addresses the most critical issues facing the residents of our state. We did nothing to alleviate the tax burden on communities, families or businesses and inexplicably, numerous measures toward those ends were left out entirely.

Let this serve as a wakeup call to lawmakers across the state – during the rest of the 2019 Legislative Session, we must enact policies that move our state in a positive direction and improve the lives of those we represent.”