Lawmakers vow no tax raise for LI as state faces $2.3B shortfall

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WOODBURY -

New York state is dealing with a $2.3 billion revenue shortfall, but what does it mean for Long Island?

"Right now everybody is kind of looking under the couch cushions for extra money," state Sen. Todd Kaminsky says of the situation in Albany.

On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo put lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly and Senate on notice.

"The Legislature, through the budget process, has to reconcile what we would like to do with what we can do," Cuomo said. "What we talked about in the campaign and what we would do in a perfect world, and now what we can do in a budget environment."

Kaminsky says that "certainly" won't mean a tax raise for Long Islanders.

The new state Senate majority features six Democrats from Long Island, including four who were elected last year by running on a platform that included holding the line on taxes. Freshman Democrat Jim Gaughran says the group won't sign off on slashing aid to Long Island's schools or municipalities to make up the difference either.

Kaminsky says there may be one solution that would boost revenue while also helping to fix the Long Island Rail Road: congestion pricing. He says it could yield $1 billion in revenue if its implemented.

Political consultant Michael Dawidziak says Long Island's Democratic senators, many of whom are newcomers to Albany, are facing an uphill battle.

"This is not going to get better, especially the way Albany looks at things," he says. "The city is top priority -- they get everything; upstate is poor, Long Island's rich. You use Long Island as your personal ATM."

Anna Kaplan, another Long Island state Senate Democrat, tweeted: "We went to Albany to fight for our schools and our communities, and that's exactly what we're going to do."

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