OPINION

Letter to the Editor: O'Mara and Palmesano use budget to divide us

The Chronicle Express

Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano have weekly columns in The Chronicle-Express. I am disappointed that their April 14 columns were used to frame the recently adopted New York State budget as an “economic train wreck” created by “Socialist-leaning, far-left, extreme liberals”(O’Mara) “with misplaced priorities that are out of touch with families and small business” (Palmesano). I expected details about the budget but got self-servicing political rhetoric.

Google searches tell us: The budget supplements Federal Aid with $1 billion for small business grants and tax credits; gives $35 million for the “Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit” and $2 billion for workers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 but could not receive federal benefits. 

The budget funds Pandemic-related programs for families who fell behind in paying rent to their landlords, and for homeowners from losing their homes.

It guarantees that SUNY Tuition will not increase for three years; increases the maximum award the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) by $500; offers full day pre-kindergarten to all school districts who requests it and requires Broadband suppliers to provide low-cost basic Broadband for underserved families.

More than $4.6 million is budgeted to Yates County governments for highway improvement and road repair. The county government will receive over $2 million (30% Increase from 2020-21), our nine town governments will receive  $2.2 million (35% increase) and our four village governments will receive more than $300,000 (35% increase).

Taxes? The budget ensures that planned middle-class tax cuts are not delayed. It adds a new item: if you earn less than $250,000 and you pay more than 6% of your income for property taxes, you will receive a tax break of at least $250.

There was a time that our Representatives would have been eager to explain what we get for our tax dollars. Now they use the budget to further divide us.