ALBANY – Chautauqua County’s representative in the New York State Senate will be the one responsible for presiding over the state Senate budget hearings that will be taking place in Albany over the next few weeks.
Sen. Cathy Young (R-Olean) is the chair of the Senate’s finance committee, making her one of the most powerful Republicans in Albany.
Sen. Young tells WRA that she and her other committee members will be busy pouring over details of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 168 billion spending plan.
The budget season got underway with the governor’s proposal and now a lot of hard work gets underway,” Sen. Young told WRFA on Wednesday. “The first budget hearing will be Jan. 23 and that’s higher education and we will have a series of budget hearings on different topic areas in the budget, whether it’s education, healthcare, the environment, mental health – there are several areas in the budget we will take a deep dive into. People will come in to testify – commissioners of agencies operated by the state, but also everyday citizens and advocacy groups will come in and let us know what the impact of the governor’s proposals are.”
In all a total of 13 different budget hearing are set for later this month and into February. A similar process will play out in the State Assembly. Once hearings are completed, both the Senate and Assembly will finalize their own budget plans, and then will work to reconcile the differences between the two plans before coming up with a final budget to be voted on in both chambers.
As for the budget, Sen. Young said she’s happy to hear Governor Cuomo promise to preserve a middle-class tax cut, which will deliver $4.2 billion in savings to taxpayers when fully implemented. But she also said there are some concerns she has with his proposal, including the governor’s plan to overhaul the state tax structure and shift revenue collection so it is more reliant on Payroll taxes.
“I think there are so many complications when you try to apply [the governor’s tax plan] to the real world and how it would actually work. Those items really need to be sorted out,” Sen. Young said. “The payroll tax is very unpopular too. In 2009 and 2010, Gov. Paterson and the New York City controlled legislature imposed a heavy payroll tax to pay for the MTA system and it hit businesses hard. So the payroll tax already has a bad name and I talk about not repeating the mistakes of the past and I think that left a bad taste in many people’s mouths.”
On Tuesday the governor proposed an increased reliance on Payroll taxes in response the recent federal tax overhaul, which significantly reduces the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted when filing federal income taxes.
Sen. Young also said that although the Governor has stated that the state has a $4.4 billion budget deficit, that figure actually shrinks to $1.7 billion when a spending cap of 2 percent is imposed, a measure that will be a priority of Senate Republicans.
We’ll hear more from Senator Young and her initial thoughts on the state budget later today on our Community Matters program, which airs at 5 p.m.