POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – State Sen. Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) met with the Lewisboro Town Board at its Monday night meeting as part of a districtwide tour designed to provide communities in his district with an update following this year’s legislative session.
Ball told the board that while taxes and job creation remain the top two issues in Albany, he said that the Legislature has grown less dysfunctional and has begun to move in the right direction. He pointed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as the major reason for the change.
“This governor has done a fabulous job at pushing Albany in the right direction,” Ball said. “Without the polarization of partisan politics we were able to close a $10 billion [budget] gap without raising taxes. We now have the lowest middle-class tax rate in 58 years.”
The next step, Ball said, is for the state to rein in spending. He cited Medicaid as one of the primary problems.
“There is still so much waste and fraud with Medicaid,” he said. “New York spends more on Medicaid the most other states combined.
The 2 percent property tax cap passed by Albany last year was also a major part of Ball’s presentation. The senator said that while the cap isn’t perfect, it’s a step in the right direction.
“It is forcing school districts and towns to tackle tax issues that families have been grappling with for a long time,” he said. “We had been seeing a lot of double-digit increases in school taxes [before the cap] and that has since changed.”
Town Supervisor Peter Parsons agreed that while the tax cap has a positive side, it’s created some problems for Lewisboro and towns like it.
“I will say that the 2 percent cap forces us to think,” he said. “But we are now piling up debt for the future. We have infrastructure problems that are becoming nightmares. It’s road, roads, roads – and we need help.”
Ball said he’s heard the complaint time and time again and is always looking out for programs and grants that could help out.
“We have to look real hard at stimulus dollars that are best spent on infrastructures jobs,” he said. “I will work with you to help pick off a few jobs here and there and see what we can do.”
In the Westchester portion of the newly redrawn 40th state Senate District, in addition to Lewisboro, Ball represents Somers, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Yorktown, Cortlandt, Peekskill, Mount Kisco, New Castle and Mount Pleasant.
Ball said that since school districts and towns have to navigate under a tax cap, state lawmakers should implement a statewide spending cap.
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” he said.