Area leaders and groups are responding to Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed executive budget for the 2024 fiscal year.
Some see the budget as wastefully increasing spending while others see it as taking steps necessary to improve New York’s economy and standard of living. Below are statements from various local and statewide officials and organizations.
Assemblyman John Lemondes (R,C-LaFayette):
“The governor’s proposed executive budget is the most expensive spending plan in state history, but worse than that she is going back on her word and raising taxes. New Yorkers cannot afford these historic increases in spending, especially now when the price of groceries is barely affordable for hardworking families and the cost of gasoline is still high enough to force commuters to make tough choices elsewhere. People are struggling, but this budget does not seem to reflect that. I will continue working to remind Albany of the realities facing our state.”
Assemblyman Brain Manktelow (R,C-Lyons):
“Today we had the opportunity to hear the governor’s Executive Budget proposal. This was a perfect example of the proverbial 10,000-foot view of a budget where the devil is in the details. What we know is that her proposal of $227 billion is a 2.5 percent increase from last year and will likely remain the second-highest in the nation.”
“What we didn’t hear was how this is going to impact New York taxpayers, nor how her proposed housing initiative will affect our local economies. The proposal shows a 2 percent increase in State Operating Funds, a 10 percent increase in School Aid and a 2.4 percent increase in “Executive Agencies.” There was then a 5.4 percent decrease labeled “All Other,” but we don’t know what that means. Those are the details that we need. But it was not all doom and gloom, as she announced an extension of the Farmers Tax Credit and increased investment to help fight the rising crime rates.”
“I look forward to the upcoming budget hearings and negotiations, where we can learn more about her proposal. I remain ever hopeful that together we can build a budget that works for the people of this great state.”
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C-Corning):
“Gov. Hochul said her budget would provide a safer, more affordable, more livable New York in the upcoming year. While this is a nice slogan, the details of her budget couldn’t be anything farther from that. The governor’s budget proposal sets a new, record-high of $227 billion spending plan, a tone-deaf total that we must bring down and get under control during budget negotiations in the Legislature.
“Our state’s financial realities are grim. Just yesterday, the state comptroller reported that New York’s total debt could jump by 42% or $2.5 billion by 2027. This news comes as many financial forecasters predict a recession in the near future. The taxpayer cannot be on the hook for $227 billion in spending this year alone, a total exponentially higher than the budgets of bigger states like Texas and Florida.
“The governor and Assembly and Senate Democrats are also pushing a radical energy plan that has failed to answer our critical questions and concerns about cost and reliability impacts on New York families and businesses. As a matter of fact, the ‘Scoping Plan’ put forth by the Climate Action Council, that Gov. Hochul supports, is estimated to cost each homeowner over $35,000 to retrofit and fully electrify their homes for heating, cooking, hot water and clothes drying to meet the mandates of the plan. In addition to extreme cost, the plan puts the reliability of our state’s entire energy grid at risk of power blackouts from these unproven energy sources.
“The highest taxes and worst business climate in the nation coupled with crippling inflation, rising and uncontrolled spending, debt, and a costly, unaffordable and unreliable energy plan will decimate our state’s economy and quality of life. This will, in turn, continue the exodus of more New York families, farmers, small businesses and manufacturers from our state.
“The affordability of New York, or lack thereof, is undoubtedly contributing to the continued exodus of our residents. Tragically, we lost 500,000 of our friends and neighbors in the last two years as they sought out better options in more affordable states. Another reason people are leaving is because crime continues to skyrocket in all of our major cities, and also in our rural communities. The governor has pledged to make ‘tweaks’ to bail reform this budgetary process. If she wishes to tie criminal justice policy into this budget process, then we must be far bolder than just making ‘tweaks.’ We can start by joining the country’s 49 other states and immediately return judicial discretion to our courtrooms so our highly qualified and elected judges can make determinations on the level of danger a criminal poses to the community in setting bail. We should increase accountability with the parole board to require a unanimous vote by the commissioners when granting a prisoner early release and allow a majority of the Legislature to remove any commissioner who makes continued reckless decisions regarding early release of murderers, child rapists and cop killers. It is long past due for New York to put the needs of public safety, crime victims and their family and law enforcement ahead of the needs and wants of dangerous and violent criminals.
“There are a number of other priorities we must address during budget negotiations this year. Small businesses were crushed during the COVID-19 lockdowns, with many forced to shut their doors for good. Those who stayed afloat are still recovering. We must provide them with unemployment debt relief as they have been forced to shoulder the burden and pay surcharges and massive unemployment insurance bills to make up for the borrowed debt and the unprecedented unemployment fraud that happened under this administration’s watch. Another way we can help these small businesses is by providing bold, broad and aggressive tax, regulatory relief and unfunded mandate relief. The governor touted not raising taxes this year, but we can do so much better. Let’s slash taxes and remove the red tape that has only slowed the recovery of our small businesses.
“As an added insult to local property taxpayers, Gov. Hochul, who claims to understand the needs of local governments, is proposing to withhold almost $1 billion in Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Program (eFMAP) funding. The federal funding, created in 2020, was intended to go directly to local governments to assist and offset their local share of Medicaid costs that negatively impact local real property taxes.
“The governor spoke at length about making improvements to the MTA system downstate, which is important. With this said, our upstate infrastructure, in particular funding for our local roads, bridges and culverts through important programs like the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), is of equal importance. Our local infrastructure is the lifeblood of our upstate transportation network and in constant need of update and repair. Through critical investments like CHIPS we will help spur economic development, increase safety and ensure that upstate taxpayers see a return of their state tax dollars back into their local community.
“Another area I have focused on for years and will continue to advocate for is funding for New York’s most vulnerable population—the developmentally disabled. This important community and the dedicated direct-support professionals tasked with improving their quality of care and quality life are still recovering from COVID-19. We must make sure their programs, services, and ultimately, their quality of life are a top priority in this year’s state budget. Budgeting is about priorities and if we are not caring for our most vulnerable citizens, like the developmentally disabled, then what does that say about us as a state.
“Once again, I call on the governor and legislative majorities to recognize the severity of the affordability, public safety and quality-of-life crises facing our state that continue to drive New Yorkers away. I look forward to the upcoming budget hearings to thoroughly review, examine these proposals, and hear directly from members of the governor’s administration and community stakeholders. It is my hope we can work in a bipartisan manner to actually produce a budget that will truly make New York safer, more affordable and more livable for our seniors, families, farmers, small businesses and manufacturers.”
State Senator for New York’s 54th Senate District Pam Helming:
“The Governor has proposed a budget that pushes state spending to a new record-setting level at a time when many New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet. This budget grows state government, places more mandates on local businesses and provides little relief to working families and seniors. We can do better and we must do better. As the budget process continues, I will be working with my colleagues in the legislature to make our state a more affordable and safer place where people want to live.”
State Senator for New York’s 58th Senate District Tom O’Mara
“Governor Hochul’s proposed budget remains a spend, spend, spend strategy that shells out billions of taxpayer dollars but remains a billion miles away from making New York State more affordable for taxpayers. It largely ignores the reality that New York State remains one of America’s highest-taxed, least affordable, most debt-ridden and overregulated states, and that we’re leading the nation in population loss. The spending habits of this government under one-party, all-Democrat control can only make New York a more expensive place to live and do business. There’s nothing in this plan that seriously addresses the need for lower taxes across the board, less regulation, debt reduction, mandate relief, or any of the other strangleholds on state and local taxpayers, small businesses and manufacturers, and continually hard-pressed upstate communities, economies, and workers.”
NYSAC President Michael E. Zurlo:
As a former county official, Governor Hochul should know that any new costs imposed on New York’s local governments eventually come out of New Yorkers’ pockets in the form of higher property taxes that drive up the cost of both rent and homeownership.
Unfortunately, the Governor’s budget includes an unprecedented shift that will saddle local taxpayers with up to $1 billion in new Medicaid costs by pocketing Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Program (eFMAP) funds that were intended to go directly to local governments to help hold costs down.
Not only does this proposal harm New York’s local taxpayers, but it also subverts Congress’ intent that eFMAP be shared with local governments that contribute to the Medicaid program. In March of 2020, New York Senator Charles Schumer championed that “Enhanced FMAP funds are so important because they are immediate and flexible. The state – which gets billions and the most of any state in the nation – and counties use the money they save on whatever they want.”
At a time when New York is facing an affordability crisis, the last thing the Governor should do is burden local taxpayers with more costs that will drive up the cost of homeownership and rent, increase business expenses and make New York more unaffordable.
We sincerely hope the Governor will reconsider this misguided proposal, adhere to Congress’ intent, and continue to share this federal funding so that so we can do our part to make our state more affordable.
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli:
“Governor Hochul introduced her executive budget while many New Yorkers continue to struggle to make ends meet and concerns of a recession grow. Inflation is still too high, and New York still has not regained all the jobs lost during the pandemic. Federal relief aid has provided critical support to the state budget, but will be depleted by the end of the financial plan. New York needs to fund essential programs and services that support quality of life in our state, while also ensuring the long-term sustainability of the state’s finances.
“With two months left in the state’s fiscal year, tax collections remain relatively strong, exceeding the Division of Budget’s mid-year projection by $7.7 billion through December. These funds should be used wisely in this shifting economic landscape, and I am pleased the Governor has continued her promise to increase rainy day reserves. Robust increases to reserves will better prepare us for future downturns and challenges.
“I remain concerned about New York’s high debt burden and how it hinders our future, which is why I proposed a roadmap for reform to impose meaningful limits on debt and ban backdoor borrowing. This proposal can serve as the basis for discussion and action to give more power back to voters and return to prudent debt limits and practices.
“My office will release a more detailed analysis of the Executive Budget in the coming weeks.”
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher:
“Gov. Hochul said today, “Don’t forget the farmers,” and she didn’t in the proposed state budget. Her economic development plan, prioritized in her budget address, includes a refundable investment tax credit for agriculture that will incentivize improvements on family farms across the state. This is especially needed following years of low commodity prices, high inflation, and a pandemic, all things that have caused deep concern in the farming community. We greatly appreciate this important step forward from the governor, but also express concern that a higher minimum wage rate tied to inflation will be a step backwards. Farms are small businesses facing significant inflation costs, just like all New Yorkers are confronting. Making the cost of production even more expensive raises a red flag for those in the business of feeding this state.
New York Farm Bureau thanks the governor for additional proposed funding for agriculture, including increased state procurement of local food, $10 million to eliminate food scarcity which would support farm markets and supply chain improvements, support for NY FarmNet to address mental health needs in the farming community, and $400 million for the Environmental Protection Fund which includes assistance for farmers to implement sustainable best management practices.
New York Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors will be meeting next week to analyze the individual spending lines in the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ budget and to determine the organization’s budget priorities. Our members and staff are already engaging with lawmakers to make the case for investments and sound public policy in the final state budget that will support our family farms, food system, and local economies. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the executive branch, legislature, and state agencies during the return of New York Farm Bureau’s popular Taste of New York reception February 27 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany.”
NY GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy:
“At first glance, Kathy Hochul’s first budget as elected governor is a complete and unmitigated disaster for hardworking families. Hochul’s budget puts all New Yorkers on the hook to pay for President Biden’s failure to fix the border, increases taxes by $1.6 billion on businesses, shifts a billion dollars of Medicaid costs to county taxpayers, and shockingly fails to use all the tools at her disposal as governor to make the changes to our broken criminal justice system that would make New Yorkers safer.
“This budget is merely a continuation of the tax-and-spend policies that are driving New Yorkers from this state in record numbers. Each year the state takes more and more from a dwindling number of taxpayers and redistributes to others in an effort to paper over the broken criminal justice, labor, and energy policies that are destroying the Empire State. Despite all the new taxes and spending in this budget, this baseline budget will only get worse with an out-of-control state legislature that is hell-bent on enacting socialist policies that will bankrupt New York.”