Op Ed: NYS Senate Republican Leader Dean G. Skelos Releases Open Letter to New York
August 20, 2014
by NY Senator Dean G. Skelos,
(LONG ISLAND, NY) In 2011, when Republicans regained control of the New York State Senate, the previous Democrat majority had run up a staggering $10 billion deficit. New York City Democrats were fresh off of raising 124 taxes and fees to the tune of $14 billion – – including the job-killing MTA payroll tax, an onerous new tax on energy, and elimination of the important STAR property tax rebate checks for seniors and homeowners.
That all-Democrat, all-New York City government ignored Upstate New York, the Hudson Valley and Long Island, and shifted school aid intended for those regions to New York City, while putting in place the unfair Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) scheme that cost rural and suburban schools $4.8 billion in school aid over four years. Chaos, dysfunction and partisanship were rampant at the state Capitol.
Fast forward to 2014, just four short legislative sessions removed from Albany’s version of rock bottom.
Senate Republicans have provided the leadership necessary to clean up much of the mess and pointed New York in a new and better direction. We’ve replaced politics and finger-pointing with genuine bipartisanship, and it’s getting results.
After two late and reckless state budgets under one-party rule, we’ve passed four consecutive on-time budgets and brought spending under control. We’ve stabilized the state’s finances for the future, eliminated the $10 billion deficit we inherited from Democrats without raising taxes and fees, and created a surplus that we’re now returning to hardworking taxpayers.
Senate Republicans eliminated the MTA payroll tax for schools and thousands of businesses. We’re rolling back the energy tax imposed by Democrats and will soon have done away with it completely. We’ve restored fairness and equity to the school aid formula. We’ve reduced income tax rates to their lowest level in 61 years, enacted the toughest property tax cap in the nation and have won hard-fought tax relief for the middle-class.
Most importantly, Senate Republicans have focused on the priorities of hardworking people – – like job creation – – so we can create bright new opportunities in New York.
The good news is that we’ve made significant progress in turning our state around, although much more needs to be done to make New York affordable for taxpayers and their families. That’s why it’s important for Senate Republicans to be in the Majority.
Remember this: All of the progress we’ve made can be undone in an instant if Senate Democrats, the radical Working Families Party, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio take control of the State Senate next year.
Allowing a small, radical faction of avowed leftists to run New York’s entire state government would have disastrous consequences. If Democrats are handed the keys to the Senate and New York State government is once again controlled by one party, brace yourself for “MTA Payroll Tax 2.” Get ready for new and higher Thruway tolls.
Expect less take-home pay after income taxes are raised to fund their spending spree. Watch the jobs your children and grandchildren were supposed to have flee to states that partner with businesses, not attack them.
Prepare for Democrats to give free tuition to people here illegally while 76 percent of college students get no aid at all, forcing their hardworking families to take out loans. They’ve introduced that bill and legislation to give illegal immigrants the right to vote, run for office, collect welfare and serve on juries.
And, if you live Upstate, in the Hudson Valley or on Long Island, know that your needs will once again be neglected by Albany. None of these proposals are supported by Senate Republicans.
The consequences of this election are serious, and New Yorkers are left with a stark choice. They can return our effective, responsible bipartisan leadership to the State Senate or they can reward the New York City Democrats for raising taxes, spending recklessly and nearly bankrupting the state the last time they were in charge.