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Congressman Reed calls for tax and program cuts

In a call with reporters on Tuesday, Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) dove headlong into state issues, comparing and contrasting the state and federal budgeting processes.

Reed’s comments focused largely on New York State’s falling revenues and higher tax rates. However, he did give credit to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his recent refusal to sign a budget deal that does not include a permanent 2 percent property tax cap for its residents.

Reed, however, gave credit for the policy to his own party.

“I appreciate the governor recognizing the success of Republican policies that are based on the concept of lower taxes that lead to a growing economy,” he said.

The 2 percent tax cap was established at Cuomo’s urging in 2011, was enacted in 2013, and currently has to be reauthorized every six years.

Reed said that the move to lower taxes also has to be accompanied by cuts to state programs that are paid for by county and municipal taxes, popularly known as “state mandates.”

According to the New York State Association of Counties, the 2019/20 state budget would likely impose nearly $200 million in new mandates on counties. Proposals such as mandating counties make AIM payments to towns and villages that were eliminated by the state, increased costs for implementing early voting, forcing new criminal justice monitoring through bail reform, elimination of funding for youth in need of supervision and authority for the Governor to cut local assistance by up to 3 percent if revenues fall short of estimates, which they have in recent years.

“It needs to be instituted so that our local governments can serve their constituents in a way that delivers that tax relief to those residents, but also delivers the government services that are there to keep us safe like first responders, improving our roads and bridges in our communities,” Reed said.

The congressman cited some examples, but said the most egregious among them was a requirement for all offenders to be represented at arraignment, resulting in added transportation and manpower costs to NY counties’ law enforcement, public defense and prosecutorial arms.

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