New York State lawmakers had a busy evening Friday through Saturday morning passing budget bills for the state’s 2022-23 spending plan that totals more than $220 billion. dollars. State Senator George Borrello said the budget contains positive elements that will help middle-class taxpayers, such as accelerating middle-class income tax cuts and a provision to repeal the tax. on the optical fiber. However, he says there have also been “missed opportunities” to address other issues facing the state, including the failure to restore judge discretion in bail. The Sunset Bay Republican says the changes that were included in the state’s bail reform law don’t go far enough…
George Borrello: Radicals wanted no change to bail reform
Borrello also noted that the budget includes a partial suspension of the state gasoline tax of 16 cents per gallon, instead of the full 46 cents.
Borrello issued the following statement on the 2022-2023 budget:
The governor and Democratic supermajorities in every house of the legislature have been tasked with crafting a budget with stars aligned perfectly in their favor. The state is brimming with money, thanks to federal pandemic relief funds and higher-than-expected revenues, and one party controls all three branches of government.
Under these conditions, developing a solid, responsible and timely budget should have been within reach. Yet this has proven too difficult for our current leaders. The result was the passage, eight days late, of a massive $220 billion budget laden with an unsustainable level of spending. While there are positives in the spending plan that will help struggling middle-class taxpayers, which I argued, there are also a host of missed opportunities to truly change some of the most serious issues facing our state. confronted with.
The most glaring omission, and the one that polls indicate New Yorkers want more than anything else, is the restoration of judicial discretion in bail. Disastrous bail changes mandated by law in 2019 by radical special interests have fueled soaring crime rates in our state, leading to greater victimization of law-abiding residents. Despite the rhetoric from the governor and legislative leaders that the bail changes are not responsible for the double-digit increase in crime we are seeing, no one — especially the public — has been fooled by these claims.
Although the controversy over the proposed changes to the bond has largely delayed the budget, the changes they have included are so minor that their impact will be almost nil. Once again, the protection and rights of criminals come before those of law-abiding New Yorkers, which is shameful and discouraging.
There were areas of agreement where it was clear that advocacy by myself and my fellow Republicans was having an impact, including on a provision to finally repeal the fiber optic tax, which has been the main obstacle to better access to broadband in our rural areas. . After fighting for this repeal for more than two years, it is gratifying to know that our voices have been heard and that we have taken a big step towards solving this problem.
Another crucial fiscal investment that I support is the acceleration of middle-class income tax cuts, a measure that I have proposed through legislation. Although my bill would have allowed residents to benefit more quickly by enacting the change immediately, it is still significant relief that will benefit New Yorkers, much like the property tax refund check for homeowners. . These efforts will make a significant difference for families trying to make ends meet in the midst of high inflation.
However, I strongly supported the complete suspension of the state gas tax, which was crippling household budgets right now. A full gas tax exemption would save New York motorists 46 cents per gallon, a noticeable saving.
Instead, Democratic majorities included a partial suspension of 16 cents, which is a token effort, but too small to make a measurable difference.
Small businesses have borne the brunt of the economic fallout from the pandemic, which is why I have continued to ask for more help to help them recover. This budget will provide targeted tax cuts for small businesses, tax credits for COVID-related capital costs and, for restaurants, a “back to work” tax credit that will help them hire more staff. Restaurants will also be able to bring back “alcohol to go” which has been a lifeline for many during the pandemic.
These tax cuts and credits are the strongest steps we can take to revive our economy and make our state more affordable for New Yorkers. That is why I voted ‘yes’ to this section of the budget.
However, a crucial measure that employers needed in this budget has not materialized. This was to direct a portion of the state’s surplus funds to pay off all or part of the $9 billion in debt due to the pandemic from our state’s Unemployment Insurance Fund. Because our state’s Democratic leaders have not followed the lead of more than 32 other states that have taken this step, this debt will continue to be an anchor around the necks of our small businesses and economic recovery.
Despite advocacy that has led to significant victories, this budget does not give New Yorkers the relief they need and the restoration of public safety they deserve. But I will continue to speak on behalf of the hardworking, law-abiding workers in our region and fight for the policies that will transform our state.