Officials Take Wait-And-See Approach

Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have vowed to not increase taxes, but when it comes to providing relief, locally, it may not be enough.

Although he was unable to watch the live feed of Cuomo’s budget address, Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards expressed some frustration after reviewing budget documents. However, both Edwards and state Sen. Catharine Young, R-Olean, agreed that Cuomo’s promise not to raise taxes is promising.

“The commitment to no new taxes and the focus on economic growth are welcome features of the governor’s budget proposal,” Young said. “Our hardworking, overburdened taxpayers cannot afford tax hikes, and we must continue to reduce the cost of doing business in the state so that our economy is competitive.”

Edwards also said Cuomo’s plans for reform to the worker’s compensation system seem promising. However, he balanced what he saw as the good in the governor’s budget against the bad.

“I do not see anything in here of significance in mandate relief on first look,” Edwards said. “Which is disconcerting, because that is something that was issue number one for everyone in the county. Then, if you add into that his proposal to raise minimum wage by $1.50 an hour, and the impact that will have on the businesses in Chautauqua County, it concerns me a great deal.”

Edwards said that with Pennsylvania being so close to Chautauqua County, the two compete for businesses. And, he is concerned that the governor’s plans may be an incentive to move people out of the state, rather than retain them.

“Business and jobs are very fluid,” he said. “They move toward areas that help them grow and develop and they move away from areas that make it harder. That’s very problematic for us here in Chautauqua County with our border being Pennsylvania.”

Young said budget hearings will now begin in order to identify areas of the budget that need to be improved.

“The budget is a massive document, and there are many areas that will be analyzed through our review process,” she said. “Like every year, I expect to hear a great deal of feedback from my constituents regarding how the governor’s budget proposal impacts them, and I look forward to listening to their input.”