New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) today issued the following statement on the 2016 State of the State Address and Executive Budget Proposal.
“The governor has labeled his budget proposal ‘Built To Lead,’ but we must remember that anything we build is on the backs of hard-working taxpayers.
The Executive Budget begins the process of policy discussions and developing a prudent spending plan for the next fiscal year. The governor has proposed an agenda that comes with a price tag attached. We need to see specific details and dollar figures, and over the next several weeks, lawmakers must ensure that spending remains in check.
As Assembly Minority Leader, I was encouraged to hear the governor put forward priorities that fall in line with a number of Conference proposals, including: pension forfeitures for convicted officials, a Constitutional Convention, greater resources for our State Police and focus on public safety, tax relief for small businesses, tax credits for teachers, and a substantial investment in education.
However, over the coming months any final state budget agreement should include several measures that were not referenced today, including:
- An end to the ‘three-men-in-a-room’ budget negotiations, which have enabled Albany’s culture of corruption;
- A specific plan to reform Common Core, which has gone ignored for too long as frustration mounts for students, teachers and parents;
- A clear commitment to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment in 2016;
- Equity in the amount of infrastructure dollars spent upstate and downstate;
- Acknowledgement that New York’s heroin epidemic must be addressed through stronger prevention and treatment efforts; and
- Immediate, common-sense relief to localities from unfunded mandates. Competitions and consolidation will not provide the solution property taxpayers need.
Today is the start of setting a new tone for New York and a new era for Albany. As we work toward a final state budget, I hope we have learned from the failures of the business-as-usual approach, and begin moving the state and the Capitol in an open, effective and positive direction.”