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Mixed reaction to Governor Hochul’s 2025 budget proposal

New York Governor Kathy Hochul (file)
Pat Bradley
/
WAMC
New York Governor Kathy Hochul (file)

New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her budget address on Tuesday morning. Officials in the North Country are expressing mixed thoughts on the $233 billion plan.

Governor Hochul, a Democrat, highlighted funding for areas including crime and public safety, education, health care, transportation and climate resiliency.

“This will be a $233 billion budget accomplished without raising income taxes," reported Hochul. "We’re presenting a solid, balanced budget without cuts or added burdens. Now, there is growth. State spending is up nearly $6 billion over last year. That’s a 4.5 percent increase year-over-year and across our major spending categories. This budget proves that you can have fiscal discipline and that can co-exist with people driven progressive policies.”

North County Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas noted that with past deficits the state often reverted to raising taxes.

“Happily this governor acknowledged very strongly that that’s simply not an option," Douglas said. "We’re losing population and capital and income in the state of New York. Raising taxes would actually make that worse in terms of future state revenues by only reinforcing the loss of people and income in the state of New York that’s taxable. So we’re very pleased to hear her commitment and see the commitment in the budget to no income tax increases of any kind to address the budget deficit. So in an overarching sense that’s number one.”

Fellow Democrat D. Billy Jones, who represents the North Country’s 115th District in the state Assembly, is unimpressed with the fiscal plan.

“Overall I was disappointed in not mentioning a more comprehensive housing approach for the North Country," said Jones. "She had talked a lot about addressing that in New York City and other suburban areas. And I just didn’t see any of those specifics for the North Country or more Upstate regions. You know, I was disappointed about the prospect of more prison closures. Other areas, I wish there would have been more emphasis on infrastructure for rural areas. I’m talking about bridges and roads. We need more investment in that.”

During a state Senate Republican Conference meeting Wednesday morning, Senator Jake Ashby of the 43rd district, which includes all of Rensselaer County and parts of Washington and Albany Counties, said the policies reflected in the proposed budget are driving people out of New York.

“New York’s population loss since 2020 is greater than Vermont’s total population," noted Ashby. "The governor’s economic agenda is leaving fewer and fewer people to pay for more and more government. We’re national leaders in all the wrong categories: state and local tax burden, the cost of doing business and unworkable energy regulations. I have a simple message for my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. People are fleeing our state and that’s bad for all of us. We lose representation in Congress. We lose federal funding for our veterans, our seniors and our families. And we lose ideas. We guarantee that the future will happen somewhere else. And I’m urging you to join with us finally to address our state’s affordability crisis before it’s too late.”

The new fiscal year begins April 1st.