Thursday, March 05, 2009

Skelos And Senate GOP Love Budget Cuts, Hate Taxes

What's new right?

Minority Leader Dean Skelos is trying to make some headway into the budget battle by submitting his own plan. That brilliant plan includes all the cuts to essential services that Paterson is in favor of, but with an added stipulation, no new taxes, whether they be on the rich or for soda. Oh and they have a plan for that stimulus money Obama is throwing our way. Can you guess what they'd do with it?

From PolitickerNY:

Minority Leader Dean Skelos and over a dozen of his members--many of whom have decades of experience on issues as committee chairmen--unveiled a budget counterproposal that would use stimulus funds to roll back proposed tax increases and a repeal of the STAR rebate program, save additional money by consolidating state agencies (scant details were provided) and reducing spending as well as collecting cigarette taxes on Indian reservations.[...]

The Senate Republicans also proposed an alternative college savings program that will allow families with children under 14 to pre-pay tuition at SUNY and CUNY schools by either the semester or the credit hour to "lock in" rates. It wasn't immediately clear whether such payments would be eligible for federal tax incentives or student loan programs.

The Republican plan would also keep money raised from increased SUNY and CUNY tuition within the system, instead of sending 90 percent of the money to the state's general fund.

I personally like the idea that money for schools be kept in the school system over Paterson's proposal, even though it isn't the ideal situation where we do not raise tuition at all. However, the rest of it is just ridiculous. Keeping taxes where they are now is the wrong idea with the budget deficit we are dealing with. Shared sacrifice is crucial to making this next fiscal year work. A combination of cuts, tax increases (on the wealthy, not Paterson's punitive model) and stimulus money can help put us back in the black. Of course, Skelos is in the minority for a reason and much like the election of Barack Obama, it is time to change how things work in New York.