"For the second consecutive year, New York's budget will be on-time, fiscally responsible, make long-term investments in job creation, economic development and education, while taking another step closer to a more streamlined state government. I am proud of our Conference's contributions - such as insisting on following the Budget Reform Act of 2007, convening Joint Budget Conference Committees in public, while holding the line on spending and against tax hikes - that laid the groundwork for today's success. However, in terms of achieving 100 percent transparency and ending secrecy, Albany remains a work in progress.
Our Conference offered 15 smart solutions on the Assembly floor this week that would have eased the crushing financial squeeze on families, removed roadblocks for job creators and made this a better budget. Our smart solutions, offered as amendments to the budget bills, included:
Repeal of the 18-A Utility Assessment to cut electricity bills for families and job creators;
Placing a moratorium on unfunded mandates to prevent local property tax hikes;
Enacting a true State Spending Cap to ensure future budgets limit spending growth;
Suspension of the State's Sales Tax on gasoline;
Freezing the entire local share of Medicaid costs;
Eliminating the Wage Theft Prevention Act's annual notice requirement;
Reducing the tax rate for manufacturers by 50 percent;
Providing aid to school districts for costs incurred from annual teacher evaluations;
Exempting child car seats from State Sales Tax;
Enacting the Small Business Relief Act to reduce the tax rate, lower energy costs and provide other savings to job creators;
Repeal of the MTA Payroll Tax;
Making the 2011 Middle Class Tax Cut permanent;
Expanding NY Works youth employment program to all communities across the state;
Elimination of the Unemployment Insurance Assessment on employers; and
Ensuring fair and bi-partisan representation on the NYS Gaming Commission.
While our smart solutions did not make the final cut for the State Budget, issues such as job creation, economic development, delivering unfunded mandate relief and cutting costs for families must be front and center on the Assembly's agenda for the remainder of session. There is still much to do before we deliver the New York taxpayers deserve."