The following is a guest column from New York State Senator Mark Grisanti.
As I continue my work in Albany, I want to share with my constituents in Western New York the reasons why I believe our state is heading in the right direction and why Western New York, in particular, has plenty of opportunities to succeed. While some of what we have accomplished in Albany received attention during the budget process, I feel it is important to remind everyone about our commitment to fiscal responsibility.
Not only was the 2014-15 state budget passed on time for the fourth consecutive year, it was also the fourth consecutive state spending plan to reduce taxes. More importantly, this fiscal plan is balanced and responsible. The budget will help New York to move in the right direction and give all WNY residents unique opportunities to achieve success.
We delivered property tax relief in the form of $1.5 billion in property tax rebate checks that will be issued to an estimated 2.8 million homeowners and dedicating approximately $3.4 billion in funding for the STAR and Enhanced STAR programs. In addition, homeowners’ utility bills will also be lowered by accelerating the phase-out of the 18-a energy tax surcharge.
Small business owners will also realize hundreds of millions of dollars in savings, due to the accelerated phase-out, one of many actions we took to help improve the state’s business climate. We also helped manufacturers by eliminating the corporate tax rate, creating a new property tax credit and addressed that burdensome tax code with important tax reforms, improvements and simplifications. All of this was done with one goal in mind – lowering the cost of doing business in NYS.
Each of these tax relief initiatives are aimed to help attract new businesses to locate in WNY and strengthen and improve existing companies that are already here. I firmly believe the private-sector companies of NYS are better positioned now than ever before to invest in their businesses, specifically by creating new jobs that can offer Western New Yorkers fulfilling careers.
There has been much discussion about our schools. I want to remind everyone that the 2014-15 state budget will help assist our local school districts by making steady and significant progress in addressing the damage caused by the Gap Elimination Adjustment.
As most of you are aware, the GEA was a controversial budget maneuver that was implemented before I came into office. The fact that billions of dollars were taken away from the education of our children is troubling, but we have made adjustments to prevent that from happening in the future. We voted to provide school districts with more funding to help diminish the GEA’s negative impact on our students and I will continue to advocate for further GEA reduction until it is completely abolished.
I encourage you to contact my district office if you have any questions by calling 854-8705, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting grisanti.nysenate.gov.