St. Lawrence County's state senator and assemblyman sound-off on budget resolution
Both Senator Dan Stec (R,C-Queensbury) and Assemblyman Scott Gray (R-Watertown) responded to the one-house budget resolution passed by Senate Democrats.
“I was pleased to see several items I advocated for included in the Senate’s one-house budget resolution. This includes relief for local governments with the restoration of $625 million in eFMAP funding for local governments. Our region’s environment received needed attention with $10 million to manage and reduce visitor impacts on the public Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks and Catskills, $4 million for the Survey for Climate Change and Adirondack Lake Ecosystems and $500,000 to continue to preserve Camp Santanoni,” said Stec. “Our schools receive support through increased school aid and a $21.4 million allocation for Teacher Centers. And they finally acted on corrections to the state’s ill-conceived concealed carry laws that I proposed, which will protect the Second Amendment in the Adirondack Park.”“But there was even more in this budget that I was discouraged by. First, Senate Democrats propose providing $1.7 billion in health care funding for illegal immigrants. At a time when legal, law-abiding residents are struggling with their own health care costs and everyday cost of living, this is an absolute insult and this money should be used to help those individuals and families first.
“This plan also falls short on the Medicaid reimbursement rate for nursing homes. It’s an improvement upon the governor’s proposal, but is still far below what is needed for our facilities to survive and continue to provide quality care for our seniors.
“Public safety would be further eroded. The continued problems caused by the unsafe HALT Act and state’s bail reform laws continue to be ignored. This budget also includes Clean Slate, which would seal the records of convicted felons who return to their communities.
“If that wasn’t enough, the Senate budget comes in at $236 billion and increases spending at an alarming rate, far beyond the already excessive budget proposed by Governor Hochul earlier this year. At this rate, the state would be spending 1.5 times that of California, per capita. For these reasons, I voted no on the Senate budget, and over the next few weeks I’ll continue to advocate for common sense policies and solutions for our final budget.”
Assemblyman Scott Gray also interjected on the proposal.
“Today we voted on the Assembly Majority’s One-House Budget Proposal, which acts as a counteroffer to the governor’s proposal released last month. The Assembly-proposed budget had a lot of positives, including increased funding for nursing homes, agriculture, the ombudsman program, hospitals, fire departments, schools, libraries, Pave New York and it rejects the governor’s Medicaid intercept,” said Gray.
“With this said, all we voted on today was a wish-list. Now come the tough negotiations to determine which programs will be included and which will be left out before the final budget is passed by April 1. I look forward to analyzing the final package and accounting for how all of these various proposals are going to be paid for. We are already projected to spend $11 billion more in 2024 than we are projected to close at in 2023. With the largest One-House and Executive Budget Proposals on record, we must be mindful of the fiscal implications on senior citizens, businesses, families and all New York state taxpayers.”