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One House Budgets Will Highlight NY Senate And Assembly Priorities

The state capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas

The New York state Senate and Assembly will release their one house budgets early next week, as the March 31 deadline for a new spending plan draws near. They’ve already given some hints of what the plans will include.

Senate Republicans are rejecting for now Governor Andrew Cuomo’s extension of a tax on millionaires. They say they are also against pretty much all of the other taxes and fees in the governor’s budget, including a proposed new tax on Internet purchases, a surcharge on pre-paid cell phones and higher fees at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said, that middle-class taxpayers are “struggling under the crushing weight” of various taxes, as well as “skyrocketing” costs of higher education.

“In this environment, these new taxes and fees are the last thing hardworking families want or need,” Flanagan said.

Assembly Democrats, meanwhile, are expected to call for more taxes on the wealthy than the governor has proposed. They want new, higher tax brackets for those making over $5 million, and $10 million, with an even higher rate for those making more than $100 million a year.  

The Democrats say the money can be used, among other things, to double the increase that Cuomo has proposed to schools, to just over $2 billion.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie speaking before the plan was released, says the Assembly’s budget will reflect the Democrat’s priorities.

“Education aide, college affordability is covered in there,” Heastie said. “We want to make sure there’s clean drinking water throughout the state." 

The Speaker says there will also be funds for transportation and other infrastructure, divided among upstate and downstate regions. He says there should not be any surprises.

“The things we always push for, I’d say it’s no different,” Heastie said. “ The lyrics of the song may just be a little different.”

The one house budgets are viewed more as political statements from the two parties, more than actual policy. Most years, the two houses, as well as the governor, make a number of compromises before a final budget is approved.  

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