ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Local leaders across New York State’s Southern Tier reacted to Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2023 State Budget Proposal; they disagreed on a number of topics but ultimately and unanimously told 18 News they hoped to see a good portion of the multi-billion dollar proposal go towards upstate New York.

“We need to make sure our focus isn’t all on downstate,” New York State Republican Assemblymember Philip Palmesano said. “We need to make sure that needs of upstate rural areas are taken care of and addressed in this budget process.”

One of the biggest topics addressed in Gov. Hochul’s budget was infrastructure ― her proposal allocated a proposed $33-billion towards it.

“The proposal to increase the amount that counties receive for roads [and] bridges would be very, very welcome here,” Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler said. “[We have] the third largest road system in New York State and also the most amount of bridges of any county in New York State. Infrastructure funding for public works is monumentally important for us.”

For local lawmakers in the Southern Tier, one of the most welcomed proposals in the budget was in regards to tax relief and funding for education.

“Having more fairness with our education will certainly be helpful to our school districts and to our property taxpayers,” Palmesano said.

On the flip side, Democratic Assemblymember Dr. Anna Kelles told 18 News she believed there was not enough money allocated towards higher education and healthcare.

“I would say the two big things that I’m concerned about are investments in some aspects of the health care, particularly home health care aide, as well as investments in our higher education.”