More Taxes, Less Funding for Veterans & No Permanent Property Tax Cap

A statement from Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,Ref-Mahopac) on the Assembly majority’s one-house budget resolution
March 13, 2019

“While I’m glad the Assembly majority’s proposed one-house budget resolution removed much of the governor’s controversial policy proposals from the budget, I remain concerned for a number of reasons.

“First, I am disappointed to see that, while they proposed to increase our state’s budget to a whopping $175 billion, the Assembly Majority still found a way to cut funding for programs for veterans such as the Joseph P. Dwyer Vet 2 Vet Program. I recently sent a letter to both the speaker of the Assembly and the governor calling for full restoration of this program and expressed how important this program is to our veterans and their families. It is my sincere hope we can get this cut restored in the final budget.

“The Assembly majority also proposed over $5.7 billion in tax hikes, rejected a proposal to make the property tax cap permanent, and snuck in a new one percent sales tax hike for Westchester County. As a representative serving communities in northern Westchester County which border Connecticut, a state which has a significantly lower sales tax rate, I reject this new regressive tax hike that will hurt business and add to the already crushing tax burden so many Westchester County residents already face.

“Looking back almost 20 years, I could find no other example where a new sales tax increase has ever been included in the state budget. This would be the first. These local sales tax increase proposals are traditionally debated and voted on as a separate local bill, and rightfully so. Article III section 15 of our State Constitution states “No private or local bill, which may be passed by the legislature, shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.” The Legislature should respect our existing laws and honor this important precedent. A new county sales tax increase should be debated and voted on separately from the state budget where all members, including myself, can be held accountable for our respective votes.”