The Senate GOP amendments in short form for budget votes.
1. STAR rebate – restores STAR rebates removed from the budget by Democrats, saving $1.5 billion for homeowners. Flat education aid will compound the problem and will result in sticker shock for homeowners when they get their tax bills this fall. The double Democratic Senate whammy better known from here forward as the DD Whammmmmy - lose your rebate and get socked on your school property taxes - guaranteed!
2. Spending cap – limits spending growth to an multiple of inflation. This budget hikes in spending by 7x the inflation rate in the midst of a recession. Worse, it commits stimulus funds for recurring costs, guaranteeing problems in out years.
3. No PIT – rejects the new PIT hike, which will give NY the trophy for the highest income tax rate in the country – nearly 10%. The so-called “millionaires tax” kicks in at $200,000, and will impact families, small business owners and farmers.
4. Mandate relief – no unfunded mandates and an effort to eliminate existing mandates on school districts and local governments - uh hum - something the Senate Democrats campaigned on.
5. Libraries – restores an $8 million cut to public libraries, increasingly used by families as a form of low-cost entertainment, information and job searches for the newly unemployed. Ask a library and they will tell you that they see greater use during high unemployment.
6. Higher Ed – Returns SUNY tuition hike funds to the university for use in the classroom. Democrats voted to use 95% of the $600 hike for budget relief. They did not approve a similar sweep for CUNY. Where are the Upstate 5 (the only majority representation we have in the downstate senate)?
7. Environment – Restores the $80 million cut to the EPF for farmland and open space preservation, clean water, zoos and others.
8. NYPA energy – Returns money swept from NYPA to be used for rate reduction and economic development. Eliminates new energy taxes that will cost average household $100 a year.
9. Drug reform – rejects drug law reforms that will spring up to 5,000 convicts already serving time and divert thousands more, including repeat offenders. The changes were adopted without public hearings and with little understanding of their full impact on public safety.
10. Jobs – a comprehensive plan including small business tax cuts and expanded access to subsidized health insurance programs to help businesses weather the downturn.
11. Agriculture – restores cuts to important farm programs and directs stimulus funds to be used to provide relief to struggling dairy farmers. (more on this coming)
12. Health tax – rejects a tax on health plans that adds $200-$300 to the annual cost.
13. Other taxes rejected
14. Prison closures
15. Schools reform