Senator O’Mara’s Weekly Column “From the Capitol” ~ for the week of December 13, 2021 ~ “Watch Your Wallet Head into a New Year in the NYS Government”

In 2018, the year before Democrats took control of state government, the state budget was $ 164 billion. The 2021-2022 state budget collects an unprecedented amount of 212 billion dollars.

Senator O’Mara offers his weekly take on many key challenges and issues facing the legislature, as well as legislative actions, local initiatives, state programs and policies, and more. Stop by every Monday for Senator O’Mara’s latest column …

This week, “Watch your portfolio head into a new year in the NYS government”

Following the November 2018 election, when the New York state government fell under full one-party Democratic control, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo exclaimed that he felt “liberated” without a Republican majority in the state Senate standing in his way.

The sentiment of the former governor was undoubtedly shared by the longtime Democratic majority in the Assembly and, of course, the new Democratic leadership in the Senate.

And, indeed, they were released, eespecially when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars.

Following the passage of this first fully Democratic state budget in 2019-2020, the state comptroller reported that state spending has increased by almost three times the rate of inflation. According to an analysis from the Empire Center for Public Policy (empirecenter.org) – an analysis, by the way, that relied on the comptroller’s update on the state’s short- and long-term financial position – the 2019-2020 budget increased spending by nearly 6%, provided for an increase in the debt of $ 14 billion over five years and was “balanced by an accounting trick”.

Fast forward to the 2021-2022 state budget enacted in April, negotiated at a time when the Democratic supermajorities in the legislature had Cuomo on a barrel due to his evolution in sexual harassment and investigations into the the concealment of retirement homes. Cuomo tried to win Democrats’ favor with your taxes with giveaways that increased spending by $ 18 billion, over 8%, and on top of spending, increased state taxes by nearly $ 5 billion. of dollars.

As a distinguished member of the Senate Finance Committee, I said when this year’s budget was approved that, yes, this budget does address a number of important priorities and programs. How could he not with $ 18 billion in new spending? Overall, however, this Democratic giveaway from Albany went far beyond any reasonable sense of fairness, accountability or sustainability for hard-working, tax-paying citizens.

In 2018, the year before Democrats took full control of state government, the state budget was $ 164 billion. The 2021-2022 state budget collects an unprecedented amount of 212 billion dollars.

It’s the alarm many of us continue to hear as a new legislative session approaches in 2022: what’s next?

In short, the far left leadership of
New York State politics and government do not look pretty, at the moment, to future generations of state and local taxpayers.

Just as the Legislature had former Governor Cuomo on a barrel in 2021, this coming year they will have a situation in which new Governor Kathy Hochul submits her first budget as she tries to win the favor of Democrats for its next Democratic primary elections in June. continue as governor. Your tax money could once again be used for political purposes.

Consider just a small sample of what Albany Democrats’ new power to spend taxpayer dollars has produced since 2019:

> tthe “DREAM Act” to provide financial assistance with college tuition fees to families of illegal immigrants;

> significantly Iincreased spending for Medicaid.
New York spends more on Medicaid than the most populous states in Florida and Texas combined. According to a new Empire Center analysis, “Medicaid’s Metamorphosis,” one in three New Yorkers is now covered by Medicaid, which was originally “designed as a ‘safety net’ health plan for the poor and disabled. Further, according to the report, “those living above the federal poverty line accounted for all of the program’s growth” during the decade between 2010 and 2019;

> using taxpayer dollars to fund political campaigns, commonly known as public campaign finance, at a projected cost of over $ 200 million of taxpayer dollars in each election cycle; and

> Remember that the 2021-2022 state budget also included a “Fund for Excluded Workers” of over $ 2 billion to provide direct and one-time payments of up to $ 15,600 to illegal immigrants from New York State who were excluded from federal COVID stimulus and Unemployment Payments. Yes, Albany Democrats have raised taxes to give handouts to illegal immigrants. That initial billion-dollar fund was already depleted in October and many Democratic lawmakers are now clamoring for more of your money to be given to them.

Even with all of this new spending, Democrats’ new unilateral control over state government has not reduced or eliminated unfunded state mandates over local governments and schools, which would provide some relief from the state government. much needed property tax.

So you better believe that this will always be the key question as this state tries to move forward under one-party control: what’s next? A state-level universal healthcare system that many say will simply break the bank? A new 55-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax that would let New Yorkers pay the highest gasoline tax in
America? A 26% increase on home heating fuels?

Each of the above – and many more – is already under review. In addition, let us not forget the “Green New Deal” of 2019 which, among other actions, aims to make New York100% carbon neutral electricity over the next two decades. It may be a new deal, but I am far from being convinced that it is a good deal for future taxpayers or energy consumers for whom the cost of energy will increase. It is a major undertaking. This requires a huge investment in new technologies and infrastructure without any cost / benefit analysis.

The New York Energy Research and Development Authority, better known as NYSERDA, recently said the state will need to spend an additional $ 12.7 billionmillion until 2024 just to start implementing the Green New Deal. A recently leaked draft report from the New York Climate Action Council, which is responsible for developing the overall plan, says the costs and who pays them should be determined as the plan is implemented. No kidding!

Let me remind you that this is all to decrease New York0.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. New York State has been, and rightly should be, a leader in advocacy for a cleaner environment. My Republican colleagues and I stand ready to take reasonable and rational steps to reduce emissions. But at what cost to taxpayers and businesses across the state? This is unknown at the moment. And to what advantage for New Yorkers? Even if New York was to reduce its 0.4% of global emissions to zero, it will have no discernible impact on global climate change or its impact on New York himself. These actions must be taken globally to make a difference. Asking these fundamental questions does not make us climate deniers like the fanatics would have you believe. These are questions that taxpayers New York deserve answers, and I am bound and determined to get them.

During the last two years of one-party control, I have consistently raised the specter of government borrowing and debt, especially the burden on future generations of policymakers and, in particular, taxpayers.

New York has already Americathe highest public debt of the state and local communities per capita. Most of this was accomplished through government borrowing, which dramatically increased the government’s future debt and most blatantly was piled on the backs of future taxpayers who will have to deal with it long afterward. New Yorkthe current decision-makers of are long gone.

I’ve said it before, it bears repeating: The New Democratic Leadership for New York State produces billions and billions of dollars in short- and long-term spending commitments requiring billions and billions of dollars in spending commitments. billions of dollars in new taxes, fees and, most importantly, borrowing for future generations of state and local taxpayers.

This relentless pursuit of an extreme left, socialist and extreme liberal political agenda appears to be the priority over a long-term sustainable future for northern communities, the middle class, families, workers, businesses, industries and taxpayers.

In other words, keep your wallets as the New Year approaches by New York State government.

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