In an effort to protect taxpayers from the explosive growth of state government spending and decrease the crushing burden of New York’s Medicaid program on local governments, Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua) and the Minority Conference proposed two amendments to the Albany tax deal. The tax deal passed at 1:00 a.m. Thursday morning.
The two amendments – Assembly Bill A.5370 and Assembly Bill A.8453 – were offered by the Assembly Minority Conference to the principal legislation enacting the Albany tax deal. The state spending cap amendment (A.5370) would have capped year-to-year increases in state spending to the average rate of inflation of the three previous calendar years. The Medicaid spending cap amendment (A.8453) would have frozen the municipal share of local Medicaid costs at the current level, an important step toward reducing Medicaid costs and delivering unfunded mandate relief for localities. Both amendments were defeated by the Assembly Democratic Majority by votes of 88 to 51 (state spending cap) and 74 to 63 (Medicaid cap).
“New York may be ‘open for business,’ but Albany was ‘business as usual’ late Wednesday night. The Albany tax deal enacted in the dead of night Wednesday-with zero public hearings, zero public input and zero transparency– failed to address two of the biggest threats to New York’s fiscal stability: our state’s addiction to spending and its skyrocketing Medicaid costs. The inability, or unwillingness, to tackle these two huge fiscal challenges was a colossal missed opportunity and will end up costing taxpayers more later on down the line,” said Leader Kolb, who has spoken out against the Albany tax deal and the process used to enact it.
“Government spending and Medicaid were left untouched by Albany’s tax deal despite the fact that from 2000 to 2010, state spending increased by an unsustainable rate of nearly 70 percent. Also unaffected was the state’s Medicaid program – the costliest in our nation. New York spends more on Medicaid than Texas and Florida combined, even though these two states have almost 44 million residents to our 19 million. It is clear that reducing Medicaid costs and reining in state spending should have been on the agenda during Wednesdays Special Session. Instead, they were swept under the rug,” Leader Kolb concluded.