Assemblyman Robert Smullen says he has no choice but to vote against New York State's debt service budget bill.

Smullen, who represents Herkimer County, the Mohawk Valley and parts of the North Country said, "New York state is legally and morally obligated to pay back what it owes, a concept I fully support from a business standpoint. However, our state is fiscally and financially irresponsible when it comes to properly managing the amount of debt we face each year. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, when the federal government provided our state with tens of billions of dollars in aid, we have failed to budget accordingly, and we have failed to devise any concrete strategies to take the financial burden off tax-paying families and businesses."

Smullen said that New York residents can no longer be relied upon to dig the sate of a deep, yet "totally preventable debt."

"State-related debt outstanding for FY24 is estimated to total $55.9 billion and is projected to grow to $64.4 billion in FY25. This is an increase of $8.5 billion, or 15.1%, in just one year. Rural communities statewide simply cannot afford this debt increase—high interest rates and inflation are already bleeding our constituents dry. Due to this unaffordability, many families and businesses are being driven out of state, as evidenced by the rise in outmigration within the last three years," he said.

Smullen blamed the financial situation on Governor Hochul and the Assembly Majority Conference, looking for an easy way to raise revenue on the backs of the New York State taxpayer.

"The carbon tax will force a fast and expensive switch from gas to all-electric and will hurt homeowners, commuters, businesses, and school districts alike. The proposed reimposition of the stock transfer tax, a regressive tax impacting anyone who trades on the market, would place more of a burden on New Yorkers trying to save for retirement or their children’s college funds and also fail to generate additional revenue for the state. These will only exacerbate existing financial issues in our state and force many people and businesses to move to lower-tax jurisdictions in order to survive," said Smullen.

Smullen said he believes the state doesn't have a revenue problem, but instead has a spending problem that the Democrat controlled legislature needs to get under control.

"We need to take common-sense steps to properly budget and become more fiscally and financially responsible for the good of our constituents," said Smullen. "The debt service bill is not in New Yorkers’ best interest. I vote “no” on this bill, and I encourage my Assembly colleagues from both sides of the aisle to do the same," Smullen added.

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