“One of my biggest concerns with the recently passed budget was the enormous number of tax hikes despite the fact that we received over $23 billion in federal aid. In my opinion, there was no need for this or budget cuts, as the federal aid helped us close our deficit significantly. Additionally, the $18.7 billion in overspending was outrageous and just plain greedy. Because we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, I believe we should have worked more within our means, with less unnecessary spending, unfunded mandates and luxury projects. We need to help New York climb back out of this hole, not dig it deeper.
“Despite this, there were a number of things in the budget that I believe will benefit our communities greatly. Consolidated Local Street and Highway Program (CHIPS) received an additional $100 million in funding; bringing the total up to $538.1 million, upstate transit systems received $10.6 million more than last year, bringing that total up to $22.55 million and PAVE-NY received $50 million more to bring the total up to $150 million. We also saw programs such as the Extreme Winter Recovery and BRIDGE-NY stay in place at $100 million each, rather than being cut. Keeping our local roads, bridges and infrastructures in good shape is crucial for public safety and economic recovery.
“I was also pleased to see the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Program funding raised to $5 million, which is $495,000 more than last year. This program connects veterans with their peers to help with many issues our armed forces face when returning from war or adjusting back into to civilian life. We were also able to get an increase of $4.06 billion to School Aid, bringing the total up to $29.05 billion. This is critical for our schools, especially as many of them are still struggling to adjust to new ways of teaching during the pandemic. Additionally, while Library Aid remained at $94.1 million, the same as last year, it was good to see no cuts to that program as well. Libraries provide important resources to many in our communities, so maintaining proper funding is necessary.
“Overall, I believe we could have done without some of the unnecessary spending but I am glad to see increases to some really good programs. I hope that moving forward, we can learn to limit the state’s spending, provide for critical programs and eventually work our way out of debt.”
Assemblyman Miller represents the 101st District consisting of parts of Delaware, Herkimer, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Sullivan and Ulster counties. For more information, click HERE.