UTICA, N.Y. -- Acting Senate Minority Leader Joe Griffo sat down with Kristen Copeland for a NewsTalk on the latest government happenings, including the senators thoughts on Governor Andrew Cuomo's combined State of the State and budget address.
Griffo released the following statement Tuesday in response to Governor Cuomo's speech in Albany:
"The last two days in the state Legislature have been a flurry of activity. While a number of important issues have come up for discussion, I remain concerned that many of these bills were pushed through rapidly and taken up with little debate or discussion that left with no time for public comment and critical input from local governments and stakeholders.
The Governor presented a budget today that touched on a number of proposals, fiscal policies and initiatives that he would like to see New York State undertake in the coming year. While I have no problem discussing and debating the various issues presented today, our priority should be on making New York more affordable for residents and businesses and providing residents throughout the state with additional economic opportunities. We also must ensure that all regions of the state are treated equally and that they all have access to the same resources for infrastructure and other needs.
People are not leaving our state because of the weather, as the Governor has suggested. Instead, people are leaving because they are over-taxed and over-regulated and our mandate and energy costs are too high, making it difficult for people to afford to live here and for businesses to prosper. Until we have a significant overhaul of taxes, regulations and mandates and focus on lowering our energy costs, we will continue to face a significant challenge in New York State.
The Senate Republican Conference advanced its own budget plan today. The 'Real Solutions' budget is a fiscally responsible plan that will reduce taxes, rebuild the state's economy and create new opportunities for small businesses, workers, students and middle-class families. By offering better alternatives to the Governor's proposed budget, and by maintaining a laser-focus on the real, everyday problems affecting millions of hardworking New Yorkers, our Conference will lead the fight for real solutions that chart a better, safer and more prosperous path for our state.
As I have repeatedly said in the past, I also remain troubled that policy has again been included in the state budget. These issues should be vetted independently and transparently and they should be discussed, debated and deliberated during the legislative session.
In a one-party dominated government, we will continue to stand as a bulwark against excessive spending and policy practices that are not in the best interests of all New Yorkers. As a Conference, we have the track record of protecting hardworking taxpayers and promoting affordability for the middle-class, which is why we rejected over $1 billion in new taxes and fees proposed by the Governor in last year's budget.
I understand that we have much work ahead of us in the coming months and I am fully aware that not everybody will agree with the decisions that are made by the Legislature this year. As this year's session moves forward, I will continue to keep an open mind regarding the many proposals that will come before the state Senate."