Conte: Next Step Forward To Financial Stability
This week Governor Cuomo presented his Executive Budget and once again laid out a sound fiscal roadmap for the Legislature to pass an on-time budget. By capping the growth of state spending below 2 percent and increasing funding to Long Island’s schools and hospitals without any broad-based tax increases, borrowing or creating new fees, the Governor has set forth a fiscally prudent state spending plan to help New York take the next step to financial stability.
The Governor’s budget also begins to reduce the size and cost of state government. For years, my Republican colleagues and I have continued to call for the streamlining of state agencies, and I’m encouraged that the Governor’s budget calls for this as well as shutting down unnecessary and redundant programs to make state government more efficient and cost effective.
I also salute Governor Cuomo for working to freeze the local share of Medicaid costs and proposing a new pension tier to reduce costly unfunded state mandates. However, more needs to be done in the short and long terms to reduce the costly unfunded mandates currently driving up property-tax bills and using up millions in local revenue.
I am also concerned about our state using tax dollars to build a convention center at Aqueduct, and I have grave reservations as to whether or not this investment will pay dividends, especially when considering the “track record” of other state-sponsored gambling ventures like OTB.
Furthermore, while I applaud Governor Cuomo’s job-growth initiatives, I believe there needs to be more transparency in the Economic Development Councils in order to make sure that state funds are matched with the most worthy projects, which will result in the creation of the most private-sector jobs.
Finally, by keeping within the parameters of the Governor’s spending plan, living within our means, and staying committed to no new borrowing, tax hikes or fees, I am confident this Legislature can pass a fiscally sound, on-time budget that reduces the size and cost of state government while promoting private-sector job growth.