Republicans say Hochul’s budget plan “out of touch with reality”


(The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers are criticizing New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $227 million budget proposal, saying it doesn’t provide enough relief for the state’s inflation-wary taxpayers.

Hochul answers reporters’ questions at a campaign event in November.

On Monday, members of the Senate’s Republican minority ripped the Democrat’s proposed spending plan and called for amendments aimed at reducing the cost of living in the state. Their ideas include repealing a law authorizing “congestion pricing” on the state’s toll roads, and policy changes aimed at providing relief from energy costs.

Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt said the GOP’s alternative plan includes “actionable, achievable solutions” that will make the Empire State “affordable again.”

“The policies coming from the Hochul administration and her allies on the left aren’t just wrong, they are irresponsibly out of touch with reality and they’re driving people out of the state,” Ortt said in a statement.


GOP lawmakers said their “More Affordable New York” initiative will put more money back into the pockets of taxpayers with families still struggling with food and energy costs amid record high inflation.

“My constituents are struggling with increased costs and record inflation, and many are tightening their belts in order to make ends meet,” state Sen. Alexis Weik, R-Sayville, said in a statement. “But the bloated executive budget proposal continues to spend too much, tax too much, and does nothing to ease the burden for our residents.”

Republicans also want relief for small businesses from unemployment insurance debt New York state owes to the federal government, which is being repaid through a payroll surcharge on employers. Their plan calls for repealing the surcharge, and returning money to businesses that pay into the system.

“We need to rescue New York by restoring the right priorities, rebuilding stronger and safer communities, and working toward a more responsible and sustainable future for middle-class communities, families, workers, businesses, industries, and taxpayers,” state Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, said in a statement.

New York leaders are entering the budget cycle flush with money from federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds and surplus money from record tax collections.

While the state government is projected to end its fiscal year on April 1 with a projected $8.7 billion surplus, the Hochul administration has warned of budget deficits in coming years as pandemic aid and surplus tax revenue shrivels up with the economy facing a possible downturn.

Hochul has cited New York’s high cost of living in her budget proposal, touting her administration’s plans to expand affordable housing to drive down rents and linking minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation.

“Our agenda focuses on affordability, livability, safety, and includes groundbreaking proposals dealing with housing, mental health, child care, public safety, and even a minimum wage increase during these difficult times,” she said in her budget speech earlier this month. “All this just to make it a little bit easier to be a family living here in New York.”

Republicans say Hochul’s budget priorities are out of touch with the needs of average New Yorkers, and argue that many of her proposals would drive up costs for consumers.

They singled out her proposals to hike the state’s payroll mobility tax to help bail out the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, provide emergency housing funding for asylum seekers, and ban natural gas hook-ups in new construction.

“While hundreds of thousands of middle-class families are struggling to afford everyday necessities, the Democrats led by Kathy Hochul are prioritizing $300 million for individuals who are here illegally,” Ortt said on Monday. “While seniors on fixed incomes worry about their heating bills, they’re moving to ban fossil fuel hook-ups to new and existing buildings and drive costs up even further.”

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