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For Release — June 29, 2010

Business Council says business as usual in Albany a disaster for New Yorkers

ALBANY— “Despite facing budget deficits far into the future, the majorities in both houses of the legislature seem to think that they can continue doing business as usual. That is what caused the current fiscal crisis and it will continue the budget chaos New Yorkers are facing,” said Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

“The legislative majorities are poised to vote for $950 million in new taxes, which when added to taxes already enacted this year will send New York's taxpayers a bill of nearly $1.5 billion. That is a far cry from the “no new taxes” Senate Democrats pledged in their earlier budget resolution,” said Adams. “That's on top of the $8 billion in new taxes passed last year which failed to put the budget in balance.”

“Average New Yorkers know that Albany must cut spending to live within its means. Average New Yorkers cannot endure an even greater tax burden. But, the legislative majorities are acting on behalf of their special interest contributors rather than all New Yorkers,” said Adams.

At a time when New York needs to cut spending the legislature is considering 24 different bills to “sweeten” public employee pensions, which are already richer than any private sector benefits. The bills would do such things as offer new state-paid pension benefits to employees who do not now have them, allow employees to collect full pensions with fewer years of service and enhance other benefits. These bills would add millions to the already unsustainable cost of public employee pensions and the costs will grow in the future.

The legislative majorities are also trying to add $600 million in school aid, which the Governor vetoed. This at the same time new Census Bureau data confirmed that New York already spends more per pupil than any other state at $17,173. Nearly seven thousand dollars more than the national average.

“New York cannot afford increased spending. The state must lower the cost of government to be competitive and allow the private sector economy to grow out of this recession. The budget proposals from the legislative majorities continue Albany's business as usual and go in the wrong direction,” concluded Adams.

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