The following was published in today’s Our Town.
By Liz Krueger
Even in the best of economic times, it’s never “easy” to balance the State’s budget. This year it was particularly difficult because our state government had less money and more debt, while the need for public services has only increased. This is not a problem unique to New York: 44 states are facing a combined budget deficit of over $112 billion this year, as the nation struggles to climb its way out of the recession.
I knew that painful cuts had to be made to vital programs, but I believed that the only fair scenario was one in which the sacrifices were shared by all. Unfortunately, my Republican colleagues didn’t feel the same way. Sadly, this budget disproportionately hurt poor families, the disabled and women and children, who rely on government more than others, while the richest individuals and companies enjoyed an increase in tax breaks.
Revenue that could have been used to save services was simply ignored, and roughly $29 billion in tax expenditures was left on the table, untouched.