In recent weeks, local Republican politicians have expressed that the state budget recently passed by the Democratic majority in the Assembly and Senate will be damaging to Long Island.
The biggest impact of the state budget, however, may be felt in Long Island residents' pockets. The budget does away with the STAR property tax rebate check many count on to reduce the burden of Long Island's extremely high property taxes.
"The average New York taxpayer will have to pay higher property taxes because Governor Paterson's Budget eliminates the STAR Property Tax Rebate Check program," said Senator Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick). "The STAR program had provided New York homeowners with $1.45 billion in property tax relief, $370 million in relief for Long Island homeowners."
"I voted against the budget because in addition to record spending, it raises taxes on an average family of four by more than $2,400 per year, eliminates the STAR Rebate Check, and increases utility rates and income taxes on many working families," added Senator Kemp Hannon (R-6th District). "Taxing families is not the way to stimulate a bad economy."
Assemblyman Jim Conte (R-Huntington) added that this means "many of Long Island's homeowners will now be paying even higher property taxes at a time when they can least afford to."
The state budget also increases taxes on consumer goods such as cigars, beer, wine, cable and satellite television, imposes a 5-cent deposit on bottled water and, perhaps most damaging, increases taxes on utilities.
"For parents sending their children to SUNY schools, they will be paying $310 more for tuition, but the state will be taking 80 percent of it to balance the budget," Fuschillo added.
The Republican leaders were also critical of their Democratic counterparts for passing a budget that increases spending by 8.7 percent.
Democratic Senator Craig Johnson (D-7th District) voted in favor of the budget. Johnson maintains that the budget called for tough decisions in order to close a deficit.
"This has been a very difficult budget process, where hard decisions had to be made to help get New York back on the right track," he said, pointing out that the enacted state budget makes use of federal stimulus money to restore state aid to school districts that was cut as part of the governor's budget proposal.