The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
Officials discuss pros and cons of Hochul’s proposed 2023 budget
Local officials have expressed mixed reactions to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed 2023 state budget.
Hochul has released a $227 billion spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year that she is working on with state legislators who are trying to agree on a final budget by April 1. Concerns center on where the money will come from and what good the increased spending is actually doing.
“While the governor’s proposed budget contains elements that I concur with such as additional support for the mental health system and a greater investment in education, I remain concerned with the unsustainable and out-of-control spending approach that she hopes to undertake,” New York State Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-I-C-ROME, said.
The budget proposal would increase state school aid by 10%, hike tuition for public universities and raise cigarette taxes to a nation-high $5.35 per pack.
“This year’s proposed budget doesn’t make the state more affordable, and it doesn’t provide real relief to New Yorkers and families,” Griffo said. “It lacks specificity, imposes the state’s will on local governments, raids county governments, and includes policy, which I have always said should be considered and discussed openly and transparently outside of the budget process.
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. was not pleased with Hochul’s budget proposal. Hochul has proposed one billion dollars provided by the federal government through the Affordable Care Act.
“Governor Hochul’s budget proposal will absolutely decimate local governments by hijacking $1 billion of federal funds meant to help us offset Medicaid costs,” Picente said.
The money was meant to aid state residents with Medicaid payments but Hochul has, according to
“Governor Hochul’s budget proposal will absolutely decimate local governments by hijacking $1 billion of federal funds meant to help us offset Medicaid costs.” — Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.
Picente, slated it toward various budget goals.
“This incomprehensible decision to pocket our Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Program money will cost the taxpayers of Oneida County more than $7.6 million and completely flies in the face of the intention of the Affordable Care Act. I am dismayed by this egregious act that can lead to higher property taxes and drive up the cost of homeownership and rent for our residents.”
State University of New York Chancellor John King is grateful for Hochul’s budget moves to help support higher education.
“One year ago, Governor Hochul set a vision for making SUNY the best system of public higher education in the country,” King said. “Today, she is continuing to follow through on that promise with a roadmap for achieving that vision and furthering SUNY’S legacy of equity and excellence for every student.”
King said Hochul’s budget ensures that 53 percent of SUNY’S full-time students do not have to pay tuition after financial aid. Her proposal also provides support to sustain and expand campus operations and programs, historic investments into labs and clinical space, and the first-ever $1.5 billion endowment program to unleash New York’s research innovation.
King also expressed gratitude for the continuation of the community college funding floor, which allows 30 community colleges statewide access to the proposed $75 million Transformational Initiatives funding and the Digital Transformation Initiative.
Hochul also proposed more revisions to the state’s bail reform law. The law was changed in 2019 to eliminate pretrial incarceration of people accused of most nonviolent offenses.
The 2019 laws eliminated bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, required judges to consider people’s ability to pay when still legally eligible for bail, and introduced a new presumption of release on recognizance except when an individual poses a “risk of flight.”
The law has been changed since then, but Republicans and several moderate Democrats continue to argue the rules have deprived judges of a tool they could use to hold people who are likely to commit new crimes.
“The mechanisms are extremely weak. A judge’s ability to make a call needs to be bolstered,” Oneida City Police Chief John Little recently told the Dispatch.
According to budget briefing documents Hochul wants to give judges greater discretion by removing the “least restrictive means” standard to ensure a defendant returns to court, as opposed to considering how dangerous they appear. The governor said the current guidelines are not always clear and that she wants to provide “clarity for the judges.”
“If someone makes a bad decision and they are a risk they should be held in jail,” Little said. “Are they a danger? It deserves a good, reasonable look. We want to
“One year ago, Governor Hochul set a vision for making SUNY the best system of public higher education in the country. Today, she is continuing to follow through on that promise with a roadmap for achieving that vision and furthering SUNY’S legacy of equity and excellence for every student.” — State University of New York Chancellor John King
“Madison County is still reviewing all of the details of the governor’s proposed budget. We will have a statement when we are done reviewing it all.” — Madison County Public Information Officer Samantha Field
create a safe society that also takes individual rights into account. Judges have no discretion regarding individual suspects.”
Congressman Brandon Williams, NY 22, did not respond to a request for comment. Madison County’s Board of Supervisors also had no comment as of press time.
“Madison County is still reviewing all of the details of the governor’s proposed budget. We will have a statement when we are done reviewing it all,” Madison County Public Information Officer Samantha Field said.
Griffo said he has concerns for New York moving forward.
“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers continue to flee our state for many reasons, including a lack of opportunity, public safety concerns, and because they can’t afford to live here anymore,” he said. “Additionally, burdensome regulations and mandates are crushing businesses, schools and local governments. It is my fear that this budget will force many more to look for better opportunities elsewhere.
“We can stop this exodus and improve the future of our state by providing for significant tax relief, improving the state’s economic and business climate, enhancing public safety, limiting state spending, improving infrastructure, and undertaking other critical and important measures that will benefit those living and doing business here,” he continued.