Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay shared his thoughts on the 2020 budget in a statement.
“What happened last week was unwise and inappropriate,” he said. “Unsurprisingly, Gov. Cuomo used this year’s budget process and uncertain environment as an opportunity to consolidate his power. He virtually eliminated the voices of local governments and residents in the process of siting large-scale energy projects. He shoe-horned in provisions allowing him to unilaterally close state prisons with only 90 days’ notice. And with the help of the Majority Conferences, the governor acquired the authority to make additional budget cuts throughout the year with little involvement from the Legislature.”
Barclay also discussed the impact coronavirus had on the budget.
“Priorities failed to reflect the urgency or the public’s needs in the middle of the COVID-19 climate. Extending the Film Tax Credit – which, over the life of the program will give billions of dollars in handouts to Hollywood elites – at a time when businesses are closing, employees are losing their jobs and families are struggling to pay their mortgages, is nothing short of mind boggling,” he said. “Equally questionable was the decision to use taxpayer money to build a public campaign financing system that could potentially spend $100 million annually on robocalls, mailers and advertisements.”
Barclay added that, “Fortunately, proposed cuts to veterans’ programs and services were restored. Assembly Republicans went around the state on our ‘Voices for Veterans’ tour to point out the insulting and unnecessary cuts to our American heroes. In addition, the enacted budget does include $65 million in Extreme Winter Recovery Funding, which is essential to upstate communities.”
He concluded that these measures weren’t strong enough.
“However, including these measures pales in comparison to the other aspects of this woefully misguided spending plan,” Barclay said. “The governor and legislative Majorities failed to properly position New York for our current crisis, for next year and for the future. I am hopeful in the coming weeks, the Legislature takes a long-hard look at the real, pressing problems facing families in New York and decides to actually do something about them. “