Sen. Young, Assemblyman Giglio find good, bad in New York state budget

State lawmakers found good and not so good things in the $153.1 billion budget passed Sunday.

State Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, and Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, R-Gowanda, said they were happy with the state education aid, which increased $1.1 billion to $26 billion.

Schools in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties will see a total of $316.3 million in state aid, up $14.5 million.

Young called the budget “fiscally responsible” and cited the record education aid, economic development incentives and aid for local governments that will ease property tax burdens.

Giglio said the funding was “good for education,” and cited increased CHIPs (Consolidated Highway Improvement Program) funding for counties, cities and towns and other local infrastructure funding as important to the area.

“There’s always some good in the budget,” Giglio said Tuesday. However, “The last part of the big ugly” was not particularly pleasant, he said.

“There’s almost $10 billion worth of borrowing,” Giglio said. “That was the most distasteful. We’re nearing our limit, and we don’t know where interest rates are going.”

Giglio added he wasn’t too pleased with the Raise the Age issue attached to the budget. While raising the age for youth in criminal court to 18 “seems good in theory,” Giglio said he worries that these 16- to 18-year-olds will have a target painted on their backs. He thinks these teens will be pushed into illegal activities by people who will tell them they can’t go to jail because of their age.

In addition, counties won’t get any additional state funds to handle 16- to 18-year-olds in Family Court. It will cost more to transport these youths to court and require additional probation resources, Giglio said.

“There’s not a lot of help for the victims, either,” Giglio added.

Young, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement, “The new state budget also delivers meaningful property tax relief for millions of hardworking New Yorkers and their families. We provide another $3 billion in property tax relief through the state’s STAR program, including nearly $500 million for another round of rebate checks.”

The $4.2 billion in income tax cuts is “one of the largest tax cuts in state history,” Young said. Income tax rates are at their lowest in 70 years.

The free tuition provision for New York residents with family incomes up to $125,000 will also help more families afford college, Young said. Income limits for TAP awards will increase from $80,000 to $125,000 over three years, Young said.

“This plan ensures our independent colleges are treated fairly and equitably,” she said. “We also modified and strengthened the governor’s original ‘free college tuition’ plan in a responsible way that provides greater support for hardworking students.”

Senate Republicans insisted on student responsibility and accountability measures, like a minimum GPA and a requirement that graduates live in New York for at least four years after they graduate.

The  budget includes $2.5 billion for local sewer and water projects, the senator added.

“The Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program was funded at $503 million, the local BRIDGE NY programs received $150 million in funding again this year, along with $100 million for the PAVE NY program to help fix New York’s roads.”

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