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Goodell, Candidate for 150th Assembly Urges Serious State Budget Reforms

September 5, 2010

For Immediate Release:     Sunday September 4, 2010

Goodell Urges Serious State Budget Reforms

            Andy Goodell, the Republican, Conservative, and Change Albany candidate for the 150th State Assembly district, urged the adoption of several important reforms to the New York State budget. 

            “The New York State budget process is a total disaster,” said Mr. Goodell.  Independent organizations have ranked New York State as having one of the most dysfunctional budget systems in the nation.  Even with all three State leaders belonging to the same Democrat Party, the State budget was several months late and included huge increases in taxes and fees. 

            “The State needs to put taxpayers first!” said Mr. Goodell.  “The high taxes and fees are hurting workers and killing economic development.  New York is literally driving out people and jobs with its oppressive taxes and fees.”

            “The State budget priorities are all wrong,” said Mr. Goodell.  The State budget cut education aid by 5% while increasing welfare grants by 10%.   A solid education is critical to the future of our State,” said Mr. Goodell.  We need to invest in more education and more in job development, cut taxes, and restore financial sanity to New York State.           

            “The voters are entitled to know exactly where candidates stand on critical issues,” said Mr. Goodell.  While space limitations prevent me from listing every idea, a few important recommendations include the following: 

●  Require that all budget negotiations be conducted in the open to avoid backroom political deals, eliminate political slush funds, and reduce pork-barrel spending. 

●  Support a Constitutional amendment to eliminate late budgets, open the budget process, and allow for more amendments from the members of the legislature.

●  Support a Constitutional amendment to eliminate back-door borrowing without voter approval, such as the current practice of borrowing through public  authorities, guaranteed by State taxpayers without any dedicated revenue stream to repay the loans.

●  Create an independent budget office, much like the Congressional Budget Office, to provide accurate revenue and expense estimates, report on the fiscal health of the State, and comment on budget matters.

●  Adopt and implement Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) for the preparation and reporting of the State budget to ensure accurate and correct financial reporting.

●  Use a rolling five year financial plan to prevent fiscal gimmicks that merely postpone financial issues or create future budgetary deficits.

●  Reduce the personal income tax to allow working men and women to keep more of their hard-earned wages and salaries.

●  Reduce corporate taxes to stimulate more private investment and more job creation.

●  Dramatically cut the cost of Medicaid by making health care coverage for those on welfare similar to the coverage generally available in the private sector, and eliminating the use of taxpayer funded transportation for routine office visits.  Medicaid in New York costs about $20 Billion more than in California.

●  Repeal the 10% increase in welfare benefits, and use the savings to give tax cuts.  The hard working men and women deserve a tax break.  In addition, a tax cut will help local business grow and expand, thus proving more jobs for everyone. 

●  Eliminate the State tax on health care plans that drive up the cost of health insurance to working men and women, increase the costs to local governments, and reduce the competitiveness of local businesses.  Last year, the State budget increased this tax by $433 million.

●  Cut unfunded State mandates that force local property taxes increases.  Currently, about 87% of the Chautauqua County tax levy is devoted to unfunded State mandates, primarily Medicaid and welfare.

●  Reform the unemployment system to reduce costs by encouraging more part-time employment and eliminating benefits to those who voluntarily quit their jobs.  These savings would enable the unemployment program to cut costs while still providing a increase in benefits to well-deserving laid-off workers.

●  Couple the estate tax to the federal exemption to provide critical relief to farmers and businessmen who face devastating financial hardship when a farm or business goes through an estate proceeding.

●  Streamline procedures to encourage more inter-municipal cooperation to reduce the costs of local government.

            “The voters demand change.  The voters are entitled to change.  My mission is to fight with all my strength to make meaningful changes in Albany,” said Mr. Goodell.  “It is time we put the taxpayers first, not treat them as a bottomless pit for ever higher taxes and fees.”

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