From Our Readers/Another Voice – The Buffalo News

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s budget proposal is being called tough, crippling, unfair and devastating. I call it the first realistic budget New Yorkers have seen in a long time.

Want really tough? Talk to the single dad who lost his manufacturing job when his company pulled out of New York, to invest in states with lower energy costs.

Crippling? That’s paying the nation’s highest property taxes when household budgets are already tight.

Unfair? Look at our state’s sick children, who despite participating in the nation’s most expensive Medicaid program, have some of the poorest health care outcomes in the United States.

Devastating? Ask the woman who reads to her grandkids via Skype, because her family was among the 1.7 million New Yorkers who left our state during the past decade.

Albany has ignored these realities for years, and just kept on spending. To pay for it, state elected officials layered more taxes and fees on those of us who have stayed behind, cementing the Empire State’s position as the highest taxed state in the galaxy. And while our taxes and state spending rank us at the top of all 50 states, the outcomes from state-funded programs like Medicaid and education remain at or near the bottom of that list.

It’s been more than 10 years since a New York governor proposed reducing year-to-year spending in a budget proposal. Thank you, Gov. Cuomo, for breaking that trend on Feb. 1.

The governor is going to get beaten up, and rhetoric will fill the airwaves with messages aimed at distracting voters from the seriousness of the $10 billion budget deficit. As you evaluate what you read and hear, I ask that you remember that New York families have been making sacrifices for years.

They’ve adjusted family spending to deal with tax and fee increases and the unemployment caused by an unfriendly business climate. And they’ve said goodbye to loved ones who have left their hometowns to find work elsewhere. Cuomo recognizes this and is attempting to fix it by forcing state government to make tough choices, just as families and businesses upstate have done for decades.

Because I believe Cuomo “gets it,” I’m on the board of the Committee to Save NY, a group that is raising money to counter attacks by special interests on the governor’s budget and his proposed property tax cap (which has already been approved by the Republican- led Senate and was supported by our region’s three state senators).I wish attack ads weren’t a part of the process of developing public policy in our state. But that’s another reality in New York.

The budget isn’t perfect, but at the end of the day, we must bolster the governor’s proposals and urge the Legislature to approve them. It may very well be our last chance to change the tough, crippling, unfair and devastating reality so many Buffalo Niagara families have known for too long.