Cutting taxes, lowering the cost of living and relieving businesses of regulations are among the broad priorities backed by Republicans in the state Senate as the conference on Wednesday outlined their goals for the state budget.
Addressing everything Republicans want is unlikely in the budget, given the Democratic supermajorities in the state Senate and Assembly.
But as lawmakers negotiate Gov. Kathy Hochul's $227 billion spending proposal, Republicans want to lay down markers for where the talks should head over the next three weeks.
“From crushing taxes and runaway government spending, to pro-criminal policies that have made New York more dangerous, to intrusive state mandates and government overreach, One Party Rule has clearly been failing the people of our state," said Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt. "With families and seniors struggling to pay for fuel and essential groceries, a weak and battered economy, and a criminal justice system that is failing to protect law-abiding citizens, New Yorkers are demanding action. The common sense solutions and priorities laid out in our ‘Rescue NY Agenda’ would immediately address these critical concerns and must be included in the final Enacted Budget."
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the proposals include cuts in taxes and boosting the state's business climate. Republicans are also calling for boosting efforts to combat opioid addiction and mental health concerns in New York as well as provisions designed to aid veterans and military families.
At the same time, Republicans are calling for more aggressive efforts to make changes to New York's law that largely ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges. Hochul this year wants to end the least restrictive standard for judges setting bail with serious criminal charges; Democratic leaders have not embraced the measure.
This year, Democrats are debating measures that could potentially raise the state's minimum wage and the governor has backed indexing future increases to the rate of inflation. Hochul is also being urged to raise taxes on the richest New Yorkers, a move she has resisted in her own budget plan.
Republicans have been in the minority in the state Senate since 2019.