When Republicans regained the majority of the state Senate we said that things would be better in Albany. We said we would stop the over-taxing and over-spending and break through the gridlock and dysfunction to create a government that truly functions in the best interests of the people.
One year later, we have delivered.
Senate Republicans understand that New Yorkers want state government to cost less and work better. Hard-working taxpayers want to pay less income and property taxes. Businesses are looking for more economic freedom to expand and create jobs. We didn't always have a partner to achieve these goals. Now, working with Governor Cuomo, we do.
Earlier this year, we enacted an on-time, fiscally responsible state budget that closed a $10 billion deficit without raising taxes and fees, or increasing borrowing. We did it in a way that puts New York on a better path for the future, by cutting spending, reducing the size of the state bureaucracy and empowering businesses to create private sector jobs.
We also enacted job creation measures that included new business tax credits, a new low-cost power program to help cut energy costs for manufacturers, and a major economic expansion at our State University centers in Buffalo, Stony Brook, Albany and Binghamton that will create new jobs for each of those regions. We enacted a two-percent property tax cap that will finally put the brakes on skyrocketing local property taxes that forced people to leave their homes and caused businesses and jobs to leave for other states.
Perhaps no legislation will have a greater impact on taxpayers and job creators than the Middle Class Tax Cut and Job Creation Plan recently signed into law. It will reduce taxes for millions of taxpayers to their lowest levels in more than half a century. The plan will provide a total of more than $3.3 billion in tax relief to individuals and businesses and is supported by the Business Council, Unshackle Upstate, the Long Island Association, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Partnership for New York City, and the New York Farm Bureau.
The measure will strengthen our economy and create new jobs by eliminating the job-killing MTA payroll tax for 80 percent of the small businesses in the 12-county MTA region that pay the tax.
The Senate has partnered with Gov. Cuomo to get results that matter to businesses and families. Unlike the gridlock in Washington D.C., we have set aside partisanship and finger-pointing and replaced it with cooperation and communication. By doing so, we have achieved significant results to cut spending, reduce taxes and create jobs. And the state is now pointed in a new and positive direction.
We accomplished a lot, but much more needs to be done to reduce spending, cut taxes and strengthen our economy. I look forward to working with Gov. Cuomo in 2012 to build on our record as we continue to restore people's confidence that state government is functioning in their best interests.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is a Republican from Nassau County.