- Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr
. (I-Sag Harbor) today announced that he voted against the Assembly's Budget Resolution on March 24. The State Senate has also passed its own Budget Resolution which is different from the State Assembly version. State Senator Ken LaValle
opposed this resolution. Budget negotiations will continue through the weekend between the Assembly and the Senate to reach a final State Budget before the April 1 deadline
as required by the State Constitution.
"One of the main reasons I cannot support this budget proposal is that it fails to address one of the most important issues facing all residents of the 2nd Assembly District; the repeal or at least reduction of the MTA Payroll Tax," said Thiele. "This onerous tax unfairly plagues all employers on Long Island. We should not pay additional taxes for a public transit service we do not receive. The Governor had proposed a substantial reduction in the tax for Suffolk employers where there is much less service than in New York City
. I am also a sponsor of a bill to repeal the tax in Brookhaven and the five East End Towns. However, the Assembly resolution rejects any relief from the payroll tax."
Thiele added that the Assembly Budget Resolution continues to perpetuate the unfair state school aid allocation provided for in the Governor's Budget. "The Assembly resolution does reduce the cut to State Aid from $1.4 billion to $833 million; however, a disproportionate share of the cut still impacts Long Island school districts. East End school districts would see some of the largest percentage reductions in the State. The result would be school cuts and higher property taxes for already overburdened Long Islanders. Cuts are inevitable this year, but they must be apportioned fairly."
He further stated, "Whether it's the imposition of the payroll tax or decreased Education Aid, Long Island is consistently seen as a revenue generating mechanism for New York State. Without real, tangible reform I am compelled to oppose this Budget."
According to Thiele, the Assembly Budget resolution cuts $833 million in school aid and still increased total state spending almost three percent. The proposal would increase state spending from $133.1 billion to $136.7 billion from last year. "Throughout my tenure in the Assembly, education has been a top priority for me. Thus, while spending is increased by three percent, I cannot accept a spending priority that at the same time cuts education spending and increases real property taxes. The State Budget resolution fails to attack the real budget busters like state mandates, pension costs and health insurance costs. Until that is accomplished, I will remain opposed to this plan."