Senator O’Mara Column: Our ‘Rescue New York’ plan focuses on overlooked priorities
Governor Hochul delivered her State of the State message to the legislature last week. Now we wait and see how she plans to pay for it. Those answers begin to arrive later this month when she unveils the proposed 2023-2024 state budget.
My initial reaction to the governor’s broad outline of her priorities for New York’s future is this: Governor Hochul highlighted the affordability crisis facing all New Yorkers, but every agenda item she spoke about would only make New York a more expensive place to live and do business. . She seems intent on spending every last taxpayer dime, and then some. New York State remains one of the highest taxed, least affordable, most indebted and overregulated states in America, and we are leading the nation in population loss. It is astonishing how Governor Hochul and the legislative Democrats can boast of ever-increasing state government spending.
One of the highlights of her speech that I applaud is her commitment to improving New York’s woeful mental care system. Unfortunately, it only commits half of one percent of the state budget to restoring mental health beds nationwide. This meager allocation of state resources – half of one percent – will not even make up for the bed closures that former Governor Cuomo forced over the past decade in our state mental health facilities. Mental health care is an important need for many New Yorkers with the effects of homelessness, addiction and crime. This effort deserves a much greater commitment.
The day before Governor Hochul delivered her message, our Senate Republican conference proposed a plan called “Saving New York.” We have delivered a wide range of policies that focus on public safety and security, mental health care, economic growth and job creation, tax relief and regulatory reform, and affordability initiatives in an effort to reverse New York’s troubling immigration. .
New Yorkers throughout the Southern Lakes and Finger Lakes regions that I represent, and across the country, are worried about not getting their act together. They see this state becoming less safe, less affordable, less free, less economically competitive, less accountable, and far less hopeful for the future.
Albany Democrats readily acknowledge the affordability crisis that is causing an exodus of citizens to more affordable states, yet Democrats can’t give up on increasing handouts to their base. They have no interest in curbing out-of-control spending, eliminating taxes, cutting costs, cutting burdensome regulations and mandates, or restoring public safety. We must save New York by re-prioritizing, rebuilding stronger and safer communities, and working toward a more responsible and sustainable future for middle-class communities, families, workers, businesses, industries and taxpayers.
In short, the Save New York agenda is a comprehensive plan to do just that. Among many initiatives, the plan focuses on:
Restoring common sense and common sense to our criminal justice system; Increasing efforts to address the opioid and fentanyl crisis; Expanding economic opportunities and strengthening our workforce; Reducing New York’s highest tax burden and controlling state government spending; Improving New York’s Worst Business Climate; Implementation of energy policies that are affordable, reliable and sustainable; Addressing the growing unemployment insurance crisis; and Addressing long-neglected barriers to local economic growth and tax relief such as unfunded mandates, unreasonable overregulation, and the continued erosion of local decision-making.
I will work with legislative colleagues throughout the Southern Lakes and Finger Lakes regions, along with local leaders and concerned citizens, to keep attention focused on the goals and priorities we share for stronger, safer communities.
As mentioned at the outset, the next key milestone arrives at the end of this month, when Governor Hochul begins releasing her proposed 2023-2024 state budget. It is here that we really begin to discover how her broad promises to the state are implemented and, especially, paid for.
I was recently reappointed as the ranking Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the Legislature’s annual budget approval process. I hope to use this post to at least give voice to the challenges and crises facing our region and all of New York State.
Remember that you can find more details on the Save New York agenda – as well as information and updates on other state government news and actions during the 2023 legislative session – on my Senate website, www.omara. nysenate.gov.