Rochester Senator Joe Robach was proud to join his colleagues to vote in favor of a bipartisan budget resolution that balances the budget without raising taxes or fees, increases school aid funding and provides significant business and property tax relief that will create new jobs, grow the economy and help middle-class families stay and thrive in New York.
The Senate’s one-house budget controls spending and builds on the progress we’ve made over the last three years in stabilizing the state’s finances. It expands tax relief statewide for manufacturers and eliminates the job-killing 18-a energy tax surcharge on businesses so they can use the resulting savings to hire new workers and grow.
As part of the resolution, the Senate advances the “Freeze Plus NY,” program, which will provide $1.4 billion in additional property tax relief over the next two years. This program makes the existing property tax cap permanent, strengthens STAR and provides the benefits of a simplified freeze while helping local governments, school districts and taxpayers alike. It also requires local governments to submit efficiency plans that show current and out-year savings, and financial plans that include consolidation and shared service actions, as well as other budget actions which keep them within the property tax cap.
It restores $541 million of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), a controversial budget maneuver approved under the previous all-Democrat Senate leadership, which has resulted in billions of dollars less for school districts and placed an even greater strain on cash-strapped property taxpayers. Under this plan, the GEA will be completely eliminated in two years, for a total restoration of $1.1 billion.
The Senate budget helps middle-class families afford higher education, pay off their student loan debt and encourages graduates to start a career in New York State. Specifically, it increases tuition assistance for low- and- middle-income taxpayers, makes more students eligible for TAP, creates a low-interest revolving loan fund, and establishes a new tax credit for graduates who stay and work here.
The Senate’s budget resolution strengthens agricultural programs in New York by restoring cuts proposed in the Executive Budget, and reforming the state’s unfair estate tax to preserve family farms for future generations.
Under the Budget Reform Act of 2007, both houses of the State Legislature will now convene in open conference committees to resolve differences in their one-house budget resolutions.