OPINION

Essay/Assemblyman Phil Palmesano: Final budget deal significantly and irresponsibly increases taxes, spending and state debt

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano

The final budget deal represents a fiscally irresponsible document that significantly increases taxes, spending and state debt and will have a negative ripple impact on our economy and all New Yorkers for years to come. Workers, families and small businesses have continued to make sacrifices and difficult decisions because of state-mandated COVID-19 closures, lockdowns and restrictions. 

Unfortunately, the governor and the Senate and Assembly Democratic majorities did not and recklessly passed a budget that increases taxes by more than $4 billion, spending more than $18 billion to result in a record setting $212 billion budget. The state debt was increased by $8 billion to add up to more than $67 billion. This budget, with their misplaced priorities, will just further stifle private sector investment, job creation and economic growth for our small businesses, farmers, manufacturers and the hardworking men and women of our state.

New York was already one of the highest-taxed states in the country. This year’s budget just adds to this dubious distinction. This is an irresponsible increase in taxes, spending and state debt, creating a dangerous fiscal policy that will continue the mass exodus of taxpayers to other states. New York has lost more than 1.4 million residents since 2010 and we continue to see a growing out-migration of New York taxpayers and businesses. New Yorkers are moving to places like Florida, North Carolina and Texas to escape our state's costly, burdensome and overbearing taxes and regulatory system.

Not only did the governor and Democratic majorities vote to significantly increase taxes, spending and debt but they also continue to advance misplaced priorities that are out of touch with families and small businesses across our state. They continue to support a $420 million film tax credit for Hollywood and the entertainment industry, even as they continue to move forward with implementing a $200 million taxpayer funded campaign system. In addition, they created a $2.1 billion “Excluded Workers Fund” that will send one-time state payments of up to $15,600 to undocumented immigrants. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses have been absolutely crushed by state-mandated closures, lockdowns and costly restrictions and we should be prioritizing helping our small business community to ensure they get the help and resources they need to survive and continue to provide jobs for families in their local communities. 

New York’s adopted $212 billion budget is bigger than that of Texas’ and Florida’s budgets combined. I am deeply concerned about this irresponsible budget and worry we are heading down an unsustainable path towards a fiscal cliff that will have a devastating impact on our tax base, economy and quality of life for our families, seniors, farmers, small businesses, manufacturers, workers and, especially, our children and grandchildren, who will someday be handed a bill to pay they had no voice in creating. They simply deserve better. Much, much better.  

New York State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano represents the 132nd District, which includes Yates and Schuyler counties, and parts of Steuben, Seneca and Chemung counties.

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano