Our representatives gave incomplete info about state budget

To the Editor:

The New York State budget was approved in early April. The Finger Lakes Times published an article on April 9 that presented our region’s state senators (Helming, R-54; O’Mara, R-58) and Assembly members (Gallahan, R-131; Manketlow, R-130; Palmesano, R-132) comments about it. They called the budget “incredibility irresponsible” to the needs of the people and said that it “significantly increased taxes.” They were concerned that it did not increase support for workers, small businesses, and families. A simple Google search tells a different story.

Our representatives did not tell us that the budget is balanced and includes no new taxes. They did not tell us that it includes $1 billion that supplements federal aid for small business grants and tax credits. They did not tell us that it provides an additional $35 million for the “Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit” that helps kick start our pandemic recovery. They did not tell us there are funds for workers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 but could not receive federal benefits.

Our representatives did not tell us that the budget guarantees that SUNY tuition will not increase for three years, or that it increases the maximum award under the Tuition Assistant Program by $500. They did not tell us that broadband suppliers will be required to provide low-cost basic broadband for underserved families.

Our representatives did not tell us about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program for families that are behind in paying landlords rent and utilities costs because of COVID-19; nor about the funding of the Home Owner Protection Program that protects homeowners from losing their homes.

Our representatives did not tell us the budget funds environmental protection, improves and expands health care, and provides financial support to our local governments.

Our representatives definitely did not tell us that if you earn less than $250,000 a year and your property taxes are more than 6% of your income, you will be able to reduce your taxes by at least $250!

There’s a lot more that our representatives did not tell us. We need to know how the state budget really impacts us. Picking a few budget items and giving us incomplete information about them may help our representatives politically, but it does us a disservice. We need to get informed and hold our representatives accountable.


Penn Yan

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