There are key elements in this year’s budget that make it impossible for me to support it. Regardless of what appears to be short term gains, the long term results are very serious deficiencies further down the road.
The Republicans are very proud of their reductions of the Business Profit Tax and the Business Enterprise Tax. The total cost of lost revenue over years is estimated to be around $650 million. The problem is there is no plan to replace that money. The loss of that money, which is used to support current programs, means the cost of those programs will be downshifted to local government and that means that property taxes will likely rise. That means that while business may get a reduction in their taxes, the rest of us will end up paying higher property taxes.
The proposed budget for the university system is flat funded, which realistically means that due to inflation, they are actually taking a cut in funding. That coupled with the fact that monies from the Governor’s Scholarship Fund can go to private colleges makes the reduced funding of the university system unacceptable.
For reasons only political, the budget includes the Hyde Amendment, which says that federal monies cannot go to pay for abortions. That is a federal requirement and including it in the state budget has no meaning except to further politicize the budget process and symbolically undermine women’s rights.
Development Disabilities services will be under funded to the tune of $36 million. After important work to reduce the number of people who are on a waiting list for services, this reduction will cause that wait list to grow by the hundreds.
Pay increases for those who work in the mental health field were eliminated.
Retired state employees under the age of 65 will see their health care benefit costs increase from 17.5% to 20% . Those over 65, who now pay nothing, will have to pay 10%. This is a broken promise the state made to those employees, who worked for the state for the duration of their careers, accepting lower salaries because they were guaranteed additional retirement benefits to compensate for the lower wages. This is just plain wrong.
There are other reasons, but these are the highlights, or the lowlights, of the proposed state budget and the reasons why I cannot in good conscience vote for it.
Posted on 20 Jun 2017, 18:33 - Category: Politics