ALBANY, 01/17/17 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I/Ref – Oneonta) today commented on Governor Cuomo’s proposed state budget for 2017-18:

“While touring my senate district to lay out my priorities for the year, I stressed the need to create new economic opportunities, promote growth, and make New York more affordable.  As I review the governor’s budget proposal, I do so with those priorities, and the needs of the 51st senate district, in mind.

“One major avenue to increased opportunities is a strong education.  The governor’s budget includes a $1 billion increase for our public schools, which is a good starting point.  Next, I will be reviewing exactly how the funds are distributed and fighting for our low wealth, high need districts through a revamped Foundation Aid formula.

“I am pleased the governor is concentrating on college affordability.  However, his free tuition plan for SUNY schools is fraught with challenges and censors student choice.  Along with the cost, the plan leaves private colleges out of the funding equation.  I believe we can come to an agreement on a better plan to lower college costs and help students graduate without a mountain of debt.

“Considerable state resources are earmarked for infrastructure improvements and clean water initiatives.  This is welcome news.  Upgrading our roads and bridges while protecting our natural resources are important economic, environmental, and quality of life concerns.

“The governor’s plan is short on real mandate relief measures that are needed to help cut property taxes.   His call for municipalities to share services is commendable, but most are already doing so.  More needs to be done in Albany to lighten the local tax burden, like paying for indigent legal costs.

“The budget proposal lacks sufficient help for our small businesses.  Broad-based tax relief, ending oppressive job killing regulations, and enhanced workforce training are just a few of the measures I have proposed to lower the cost of doing business in New York while ensuring that a highly trained workforce is ready to fill new jobs.

“Now the heavy lifting begins.  A thorough review of the governor’s proposal, along with public hearings, will be taking place in the coming weeks with an eye toward finalizing a fiscally sound budget prior to April 1.”


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