County legislature reacts to state budget
"The proposed budget includes more than seven dozen tax or fee increases. Those hikes will only make the impacts of the downturn worse for our residents and businesses," said Neil Kelleher, chairman of the legislature.
"We know the state is dealing with huge fiscal problems, but tax increases and fee hikes are not the way to go. They will take more money out of the pockets of residents and businesses and that may make things worse," said Vice Chairman for Finance Richard Salisbury.
The legislators were also concerned that Paterson's budget did not give counties more power to reduce instances of Medicaid and welfare fraud when state mandated spending currently requires 90 cents out of every county tax dollar.
"The governor should use the budget to give counties more tools to fight abuse and fraud. Millions upon millions of dollars could potentially be recovered if obstacles were removed," said Thomas Walsh, Sr., vice chairman of the legislature.
Additionally, concerns were raised about the fact that the state budget includes 88 new or increased taxes and fees on everything from cable TV to sugary sodas.
"I can't recall a state budget that included so many tax increases for so many different things," said Legislator Martin Reid. "This budget will really hit New Yorkers hard because it would impact nearly every aspect of their lives."