The independent group of Democrats in the state Senate says its 2014 legislative agenda will have a positive impact on the greatest number of New Yorkers.
Following state Republicans and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's tax commission, the Independent Democratic Conference has put forward its ideas on how to use the projected $2 billion budget surplus next year.
The IDC is calling its plan "Affordable NY." It targets middle class New Yorkers through extended maternity leave and allowing college students to lock in tuition rates at public universities.
It also proposes to provide more utility relief to seniors and encourage college graduates to stay in New York through home-buying grants, said IDC member Sen. Dave Valesky.
"In our proposal, I think the greatest number of people would receive some form of relief," Valesky said. "Whether it’s helping to pay for college tuition, helping to afford prescription drug costs, helping to purchase a home for the first time."
Valesky says the IDC’s plan has something for everyone.
"There’s an opportunity, and I think a responsibility on our part, to ensure whatever tax relief we are able to do as part of that budget surplus, that it has the greatest impact and the greatest benefit for the greatest number of middle class New Yorkers," Valesky said.
The senator says the proposal could be funded well within the budget surplus.
The governor’s tax commission wants to reduce property taxes while Republicans are targeting corporate and estate taxes.
Valesky says his caucus’s platform should be considered along with ones being discussed by the governor and Republicans.