94th District Assemblyman Kevin Byrne speaks out against Governor Cuomo’s budget proposals that include unfunded mandates on counties and municipalities.

Kevin Byrne

Assemblyman Kevin Byrne

On Tuesday, January 17, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was constitutionally required to submit his executive budget to the Legislature for review. Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,Ref-Mahopac) joined his colleagues in speaking out against the budget proposal. The governor kept the media and the Legislature in the dark until the 11th hour after breaking tradition and not holding a formal budget presentation.

A new proposal in this budget is the countywide shared services property tax savings plan. This would require counties to put together a plan that would consolidate services countywide. The plan needs to be put together, proposed to the public and voted on this November. If the counties refuse, their Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding will be withheld. This funding is given to municipalities to spend however they choose.

“The truth is this program is another unfunded mandate. The vast majority of county and local budgets are already driven by programs the state requires them to deliver but does not help them pay for. Our property taxpayers can’t afford it any longer,” said Byrne.

The governor’s spending proposal would authorize ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft to operate across New York, not just in New York City. It comes at a cost, though, and according to the governor’s budget proposal, there will be a special new tax imposed on every fare. “I’m glad we’re taking a step in the right direction, however it’s not clear how much, if any, of that special new tax is going to support local transit costs,” Byrne said.

The governor’s proposal also included $200 million in statewide funding devoted to the heroin and opioid epidemic. This spending will include crisis centers to ensure access to critical support facilities and two Recovery Finish Schools. These schools will be run by BOCES and will have an open enrollment for high school students with a diagnosis of substance abuse disorder and a commitment to the recovery process. “Any investment in education, prevention, treatment and recovery, and law enforcement is vital for success. We need to make sure we provide support to those struggling with addiction and their families to combat this issue in the Hudson Valley and across the state,” said Byrne.

(Provided by the Office of Assemblyman Kevin Byrne)

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