Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R-C Macedon), the ranking member on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, led a debate on the Assembly’s one-house budget resolution last week in Albany. The resolution is a ceremonial position statement that would spend well over the state’s 2-percent spending cap, while proposing $7 billion in new taxes, and increasing state debt. Oaks said the proposal contained some good policy statements but ultimately the measure spends and taxes too much, and relies too extensively on borrowing and the use of non-recurring revenue.
While the fiscal basis of the one-house proposal forced Oaks to vote against it, he did point to a number of positive initiatives in the measure that he thought showed a greater willingness by the Assembly majority to hear the concerns of the upstate region than in prior years. Specifically, he pointed to increased pay for direct care workers, returning the state’s School Tax Relief (STAR) program back into an immediate exemption (instead of the personal income tax credit created by Governor Cuomo last year), a moderate increase to library aid and funding for local roads and bridges.
“Over the next two weeks leading up to the April 1 budget deadline, I will continue working across the aisle to gain support for key issues that need to be included in the final 2017-18 New York State budget such as: mandate relief, support for small businesses and farms, greater oversight of spending, ride sharing, and tax relief,” Oaks said.