Republicans share concerns over Governor's proposed budget

Budget includes $6.2 billion deficit and goals to legalize marijuana in budget

Mike Baggerman
January 22, 2020 - 10:00 am

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Republican lawmakers from the region were quick to criticize Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed $178.6 billion budget on Tuesday, with many still concerned over the $6.2 billion deficit facing the state.

READ THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET BOOK BY CLICKING HERE

State Senators Chris Jacobs and Pat Gallivan plus Assemblyman Angelo Morinello all left Tuesday's speech by the governor feeling let down by the lack of details from the governor during his proposed budget announcement.

"I think I want to delve into his actual budget proposal - the actual document - before I pass any judgement," Gallivan said.

"He has not been responsible in managing this medicaid budget," Jacobs said while describing the governor as being in a state of denial over the deficit. "He's now blaming local communities that they are the source of this increase. That is just patently false."

"I look at this proposal...as him giving us a newspaper and only giving us headlines," Morinello said. "Headlines are many times different than the stories. To answer the questions properly, we need to read the story and the story is, of course, the big budget book."

The governor described the budget deficit as a "shortfall from the projected growth to the actual growth in programs", leading criticism by lawmakers for his characterization.

"I could not understand that analysis," Morinello said. "I think it was just double talk to sweep it under. He tried to say in his proposal that the deficit is (around $2 billion) and the other $4 billion was anticipated increase. The reality is in the numbers and the deficit is over $6 billion at this point."

Among the specific issues that republican lawmakers were concerned about include the governor's action on the bail reform laws.

"I was hoping he would recognize that the (bail reforms) warnings many of us had are coming to fruition," Jacobs said. "This is putting law-abiding citizens in harms way on daily basis. That was ignored."

"We've seen thousands of dangerous individuals released," Gallivan said. "We've seen instances across the state where these dangerous individuals have re-offended and created more victims."

Legalization of recreational marijuana is another goal that the governor had on his agenda. Morinello, Gallivan, and Jacobs all expressed their concerns over the governor using the budget to pass marijuana laws because doing so would mean no discussions on the hot-button issue in Albany.

"I don't think 'everybody is doing it' is a really compelling argument on my side," Jacobs said. "It's still very concerning to me. I'm happy to have a continued discussion on it, but when you put it in the budget and it's ramped through in a couple months and there's no hearing and no ability to vet this, it's not a responsible way to legislate, especially something that's so significant to public health and safety and revenue."

Governor Cuomo touted on Tuesday that you can have a progressive agenda that is fiscally sound.

"You can do both those things at the same time," Cuomo said. "They are not an oxymoron."

Democratic lawmakers defended the governor's description of the deficit.

"We put projections together in 2019 and we guess how much money is supposed to come in in 2020 and (create) a spending plan according to that," Assemblyman Sean Ryan said. "...We don't necessarily have to cut. We just have to stop the growth of some of the programs in New York State."

Ryan said that even if New York State can legalize marijuana this year, it will take years before New York even sees the benefit from it.

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