A lot has been written about the newly enacted state budget, but this much is certain: The budget spends too much, taxes too much, and fails to create any new jobs. In short, the budget is a disaster for Long Island's middle-class families.
It's no surprise the budget has been roundly criticized by Newsday's editorial board and others since it was crafted entirely in secret by three New York City Democrats.
The Democrat-only budget cancels the STAR rebate checks worth approximately $600-$800 annually to Long Island families, rejects the need for regional balance to fund our schools, and enacts dozens of taxes and fees that will force middle-class taxpayers to dig deeper into their wallets and pocketbooks to the tune of $2400 in additional taxes per year.
The budget hikes spending by $13 billion over last year and increases taxes by more than $8 billion.
As a result, all 30 Republicans, including the seven Republicans, which represent Nassau and Suffolk counties, opposed the nearly $132 billion budget. Long Island Democrats Craig Johnson and Brian Foley, who should have put the interests of their constituents ahead of the interests of their party bosses, voted in favor of a budget that hurts Long Island.
Why is the Paterson/Johnson/Foley budget a bad budget?
Rather than make the difficult choices required of leaders, they have made the wrong choices in this budget, and it's likely to have disastrous consequences for Long Island.
Governor Paterson and his Democrat allies have used a one-shot from the federal government to commit us to long-term spending and tax increases that are unsustainable.
The New York City Democrats slashed Long Island's share of the increase in school aid by 62 percent, virtually assuring future property tax increases.
The income tax increase approved as part of this budget is an assault on small businesses, the engine of economic growth on Long Island, and it will cripple your local florist, your local deli and many other local businesses that will now be forced to pay higher taxes.
With billions more in new taxes and fees, families who are already stretched to the breaking point will pay more for virtually everything they do, including more to register a car, renew a license, get a haircut, rent a car, drink a bottle of water, or even enjoy a glass of wine or a can of beer.
Under the Democrats' new tax on utilities, the State will tax LIPA ratepayers' utility bills for the first time ever. Senate Republicans offered an alternative budget that used the federal stimulus monies to reject job-killing tax increases, balance the budget and protect Long Island's future. Instead, the Democrats wasted the stimulus funds by going on an unprecedented spending spree.
What do Democrat State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Democrat Attorney General Andrew Cuomo know about this budget that Senators Johnson and Foley don't? They've criticized the budget as secretive, fiscally irresponsible and potentially out of balance.
Rather than standing up and stopping the budget, which they could have done, Senators Johnson and Foley simply did what they were told and voted in favor of a budget that is a disaster for Long Island.