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Senate GOP pushing tax, spending controls

ALBANY -– Two State Senate committees have approved legislation to control state spending and taxation -– measures that face a questionable life in the Assembly.

One measure, sponsored by Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, an Erie County Republican, would cap the annual growth of state spending at 2 percent, or 120 percent of the inflation rate, whichever is lower.

The other, sponsored by freshman Sen. Lee Zeldin, a Long Island Republican, would require a two-thirds majority vote of both legislative houses for any bill that raises or extends specific taxes or fees.

The proposals, set to pass the Senate Wednesday, would be amendments to the state constitution -– meaning they would have to be passed by a successive state legislative body before going to voters in a statewide referendum. The earliest such a referendum could take place is November 2013.

Most Democrats in the Senate committees opposed the measure. “It’s premature,’’ Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, a Westchester County Democrat, said of the spending cap proposal; she said the issue needs more study.

-- Tom Precious

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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