The majority conferences in the New York Legislature recently passed a back-room budget deal that completely disregarded every rule of fiscal responsibility. The 2021-2022 enacted budget is $18.7 billion more than last year’s spending plan. New York State is now planning to spend $212 billion across the board, which represents a 9.7 percent increase over last year and blows the state’s 2 percent spending cap out of the water.
In a state budget larger than anything we’ve ever seen, a number of Assembly Republican priorities were addressed: the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) will receive $538 million for infrastructure funding; additional transportation and infrastructure programs like BRIDGE-NY, PAVE-NY and Extreme Winter Recovery will receive $350 million in total; the state will administer $2.45 billion in emergency rental assistance for tenants and landlords, along with $600 million in homeowner relief; the spending plan also includes $825 million for a Small Business Pandemic Relief Program, $600 million for the Small Business Credit Initiative Program and continues tax cuts for the middle class. However, the bad, unfortunately, far outweighs the good.
The enacted budget’s corporate-tax hike and new, permanent taxes on high earners are sure-fire job killers that will surely force businesses and residents to more affordable states. The outmigration issue and affordability crisis are not new issues here, and this budget will ensure the problems are not going away. Companies and individuals already thinking about leaving New York before this budget was passed are basically being pushed out the door. And states like Florida, which do not have a personal-income tax, will reap the benefits.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez recently told CNBC he immediately started recruiting some of New York’s biggest businesses as details about the tax hikes started to emerge. We are not going to get $12 billion in bailout money every year from the federal government (like we did this year), and we are not going to be able to sustain this level of spending as our tax base dwindles due to frustrated business owners leaving.
At a time when families and businesses are struggling to recover from one of the worst economic collapses in a lifetime, the legislature had a responsibility to protect their future and the state’s still-fragile economy. Instead, they took out their checkbook, went on a spending spree, and asked taxpayers and residents to foot the most-expensive bill in state history. This budget is bad for New York, and our minority conference will continue to advocate for more long-term, fiscally responsible measures in the coming months.
William (Will) A. Barclay, Republican, is the New York Assembly Minority Leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County. Contact Barclay at email@example.com.