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Senator O'Mara's weekly column: "Helping New Yorkers make ends meet must be a priority"




Senator O'Mara offers his weekly perspective on many of the key challenges and issues facing the Legislature, as well as on legislative actions, local initiatives, state programs and policies, and more.


For the week of August 8, 2022, "Helping New Yorkers make ends meet must be a priority"


”Every resident of the Empire State is feeling the squeeze of increasing costs at the pump, in the grocery store, and from their utility bills. In June, inflation hit a 40-year high, the sources of which were broad -- including both global issues such as rising energy and food costs as well as increases in domestic goods such as vehicles, clothing, services, and housing. Every New Yorker is feeling the pressure and facing increasing costs that are stretching their budgets, hurting their business, and risking their financial future. According to estimates, American households are spending an additional $500 a month due to inflation,” states the introduction from a just-released report from our Senate Republican conference highlighting the relentless impact of rising costs and making recommendations for state-level action.


The comprehensive report, “Providing Taxpayers, Families, and Businesses Relief from Record Inflation,” turns a spotlight on the everyday struggles New Yorkers are facing to make ends meet under ever-surging costs for goods and services. It highlights where and how much prices have increased, as well as detailing how incomes, wages, and household budgets have been affected, and analyzing overall consumer sentiment.


Among other statistics, the report shows that:


-- inflation is up 9.1% and costs for New Yorkers have increased dramatically at the gas pump, grocery store, and on utility bills;


-- American households are spending an additional $500 a month due to inflation;


-- inflation-adjusted incomes fell another one percent in June 2022, adding to a total decrease of 3.6 percent from last year; and


-- overall, the New York Index of Consumer Sentiment is at its lowest since October 2011.


The report also details how unprecedented, out-of-control, tax-and-spend economic policies pushed by Albany Democrats over the past several years can only fail to effectively address these runaway inflationary pressures both in the short- and long-term.


Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt said, “Our comprehensive report on inflation reaffirms what we’ve heard from millions of New Yorkers: individuals, families and businesses are struggling under higher costs and the failed policies of One-Party-Rule. Our policy solutions are designed to help the forgotten, hardworking taxpayer; the New Yorker who gets up every single day and works hard to provide for their family; the New Yorker who deserves better than having to decide between filling up the tank or feeding their family. As our nation nears the precipice of an economic recession, New York can’t afford out-of-touch politicians who refuse to acknowledge reality. This economy has been broken under their watch. Senate Republicans are listening and ready to act.”


The report proposes a multi-pronged strategy for state-level steps to try to begin easing the burden on New York residents, families, and businesses, including, among others:


-- enacting a permanent cap on state government spending;

-- cutting energy costs;

-- preventing “stealth tax increases” by adjusting tax brackets for inflation;

-- providing targeted tax relief;

-- reducing the cost of childcare and supporting families;

-- supporting farmers and the agricultural industry;

-- improving the state’s business climate, supporting small businesses and manufacturers, and increasing the supply of goods and necessities;

-- reducing healthcare costs;

-- lowering housing costs; and

-- strengthening the workforce.


The Senate GOP report highlights specific actions for trying to achieve all the above goals.

New Yorkers across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions I represent, and statewide, are worried about making ends meet.


They see this state becoming less safe, less affordable, less free, less economically competitive, less responsible, and far less hopeful for the future.


They see Albany Democrats focused on out-of-control state spending with no commitment to eliminating taxes, lowering costs, or cutting burdensome regulations and mandates.


The Senate Republican conference is focused on trying to turn things around, rebuilding safer and stronger communities, and working toward a more responsible and sustainable future.


Our recent report concludes: “The causes of inflation are varied and complicated. Supply chain constraints, surging demand, labor shortages, and the largess of the American Rescue Plan have contributed to the current situation. While many of these are global and national issues, State policy has also played a role. New York’s burdensome tax and regulatory environments have increased the costs of running a business, limited the ability to build new housing, and exacerbated energy shortages and price spikes. The Senate Republican Conference has worked hard to bring these issues to the forefront and put them on the agenda in Albany.


“Long has our Conference argued that the State’s business climate, burdensome regulatory regimes, and high taxes hinder economic growth and opportunity, but the pandemic and the current inflation crisis have also highlighted how these policies are limiting the supply of energy, needed goods and services, and housing. Fixing these problems as well as providing relief from unprecedented cost increases have remained at the top of the Conference’s agenda.”


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