Sen. Gipson Opposes Budget Cuts, Utility Tax

Services for people with disabilities would be affected

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 30-day Amendment Budget release includes a $120 million cut in funding to the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). State Sen. Terry Gipson issued a statement recently that these cuts would have a devastating impact on the nonprofit organizations that deliver services for the OPWDD, not to mention their clients’ families and communities.

Gipson supports a full restoration of the $120 million proposed cut to the OPWDD budget, and he has been working with nonprofits in his district and his Senate colleagues to rally support for this restoration.

“Restoring the $120 million will go a long way in providing the care, concern and compassion to those who are neediest among us,” Gipson said. “These cuts will sadly result in closed facilities, loss of services and a potential return to the bad old days of Willowbrook, which no one wants to see happen. I am fully committed to convincing the governor that these budget cuts must be avoided at all costs.”

Utility tax extension

“I agree with Gov. Cuomo that growing our local and state economies and reducing the cost of doing business here in New York State should be at the top of our priority list,” said Sen. Gipson. “However, Gov. Cuomo’s budget includes a proposed extension of the utility surcharge tax, also known as the 18-a assessment or the Temporary State Assessment Surcharge, and I believe this extension will not help us achieve those priorities.

“Under the 2009 state law, this costly 2 percent surcharge tax is set to expire on March 31, 2014, and the proposed 2013-14 budget extends this surcharge tax for years beyond the expiration date,” Gipson said. “The impact of this extension will be that it will cost New York’s local businesses and ratepayers over $2 billion.

“I came to Albany to help lower costs for businesses and consumers; this surcharge does exactly the opposite. According to National Grid, the extension could cost typical large businesses approximately $30,000 per year; a small business $540 per year; and families could shell out as much as $55 per year in their household utility bill.

“Let’s do the right thing for all New Yorkers. I am reaching across the aisle and joining many of my Republican colleagues in supporting the removal of this utility tax surcharge from our budget proposal. This will provide some much needed relief for our businesses, families and communities,” said Gipson.

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