I look forward to this day. It brings a renewed sense of hope and change for the upcoming year and allows for the opportunity to set priorities for this session with my colleagues. I want to share some of those priorities this week. These common-sense reforms, if enacted, would help restore public trust, bolster the economy, and overall, improve New York.
Reform the state’s approach to economic development:
· Provide tax and regulatory relief to small businesses.
· Provide oversight of lump-sum appropriations so that the comptroller and Attorney General are part of this process.
· Conduct independent audits of state economic development programs.
Restore Public Trust and Crack Down on Pay to Play Politics:
· Increase transparency and break up the consolidation of power that has led to corruption and poor public policy.
· Reform legislative grants to prevent conflicts of interest.
· Enact term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs.
· Create a new crime for failure to report corruption.
Invest in Infrastructure:
· Increase state support for CHIPs (Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program).
· Use additional settlement dollars to improve roads, bridges, culverts and other critical infrastructure.
· Eliminate the 25% local match requirement under the Harmful Algae Blooms program so more communities can qualify for assistance.
Have State Takeover Cost of Medicaid and Reduce Property Taxes:
· Provide for the full takeover of Medicaid over a 10-year phase-in period.
· In tandem with the Medicaid takeover, freeze property taxes then assume the property tax growth of local governments or school districts that stay within the 2% tax cap.
· Create a Real Property Tax Redesign Team to reduce mandates and to find at least $500 million in annual recurring savings.
Keep Education a Priority in the Budget:
· Target school aid to low-wealth and high-needs districts.
· Continue to support and expand career-ready programs for high school students
· Ensure libraries are adequately funded to provide vital social and career connections for families and individuals.
Support low-income families by:
· Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit
· Doubling the New York State Child and Dependent Care Credit
· Creating incentives for New Yorkers on unemployment to work part-time
Protect those with Developmental Disabilities by:
· Increasing funding for housing, respite, transportation, and employment opportunities.
· Ensure direct care workers receive a living wage.
We need to pass legislation that will move our state forward and help our Upstate economies flourish. I look forward to working with my colleagues to get these changes enacted. In addition to these reforms, I plan to push back on some of my downstate colleagues’ agendas that will harm Upstate and hurt small businesses.
If you have any questions or comments, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected], or by calling (315) 598-5185.