Hawley votes against so-called deficit reduction plan
Submitted by Howard Owens on December 2, 2009 - 9:00am
Batavia's representative in Albany issued a statement this morning critical of a legislative plan to reduce spending because, he said, it hits Western New York harder than wasteful downstate interests.
Assemblyman Steve Hawley said he voted against the plan.
"Yes, tough choices need to be made, but once again the downstate leaders have attempted to balance their inflated spending on the backs of Western New Yorkers," Hawley said in a statement. "Just as I voted against the excessive 2009-10 State Budget, I also voted against this "reduction" plan that does nothing but further shift the burden of Albany's irresponsible spending onto the backs of hardworking Western New Yorkers."
(UPDATE: The Batavian's news partner, WBTA, spoke with Steve Hawley this morning. Listen (mp3).)
The Buffalo News reports that the deficit reduction plan leaves New York still in the hole about $1 billion. The News characterized the cuts as "politically painless."
"Putting off the pain" is how the Albany Times-Union described the so-called deficit reduction plan.
After railing against Gov. David Paterson's deficit reduction plan for more than a month and a half, legislative leaders essentially endorsed half of his proposed measures. However, they spared themselves the political risk of cutting aid to schools that the governor says most districts -- sitting on plenty of reserves -- could have afforded. Instead of going along with an admittedly tough, unpopular move that the governor could still make, lawmakers opted to use $391 million in federal stimulus money that the state was holding for next year.
In an editorial, the Buffalo News also raps the legislature for its inaction, and includes this gem:
Rare is the politician who seeks office based on the promise that he will spend less on your children’s school and your grandmother’s hospital. But New York spends so much more than any other state on both functions without making our offspring smarter or our elders healthier. Like other states, our schools and health care institutions will simply have to make do with less money.
The New York Times editorial says the blame for the state's spending problems rests primarily with the Senate.
The State Senate, on the other hand, has done little more than issue press releases. Senators are too busy eyeing next year’s elections, especially those lawmakers with the least political security — that is, a few suburban Democrats in dicey districts and all 30 of the Republicans, who want to regain the majority next year.
They don’t want to do anything unpleasant or really difficult like pare state expenses in midyear — in other words do their jobs — even if it means facing an even larger deficit in April, perhaps as high as $10 billion.
Hawley's full statement following he jump:
After months of knowing that this year's revenues would force budget cuts and after weeks of returning to Albany with no agreement on the table, I was pleased that both houses were able to come together to agree on some of the necessary cuts. However, by taking next year's federal education funds, cutting aid to municipalities (including to the City of Batavia) and reducing access to health care in rural communities, like those in Western New York, this plan is full of problems.
Yes, tough choices need to be made, but once again the downstate leaders have attempted to balance their inflated spending on the backs of Western New Yorkers. Just as I voted against the excessive 2009-10 State Budget, I also voted against this "reduction" plan that does nothing but further shift the burden of Albany's irresponsible spending onto the backs of hardworking Western New Yorkers.
Instead of adopting the many proposals to reduce the deficit that I proposed along with our Conference, downstate leaders decided to turn their backs on implementing real solutions. Under the cover of darkness, with smoke and mirrors, after four weeks at a cost of $322,000, downstate leaders adopted the old adage of "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul." Only they robbed next year's federal money from Obama to pay Shelley, Dave and John.
On top of these hurtful cuts, this plan also includes cuts to community colleges and Roswell Park as well as cuts $10 million from Timothy's Law, causing more increased costs again for small businesses. Additionally, this plan cuts fees for out-of-state CPAs but does nothing for those instate. They did the same thing to insurance small businesses last year, sending a consistent message that Albany does not care about New York State small business and further weakening our state's economy.
This plan cuts too little and doesn't address the nearly $4 billion deficit we have this year. What's worse is cutting $391 million from education and replacing that with next year's federal stimulus, further exasperating the problem. Coupled with these other dangerous cuts, this plan is a deficit deferral not a reduction and it sets up our state for a deeper deficit next year, which is already estimated to mount $10 billion.