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Hawley and Ranzenhoffer respond to Cuomo's speech

By Howard B. Owens

From the office of Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

The governor touched on many important issues worthy of attention in his State of the State Address, but nothing is more pressing for Western New York than mandate relief and job creation. In fact, if we are to fix either problem, we must fix both.

Unfunded mandates have sent local taxes through the roof for years, and I have been fighting to eliminate this burden since my first day in state government. While taxes climb, business owners and job creators flee Western New York in droves. If we are to truly embrace job creation, we must put an immediate ban on any new mandates and begin examining the litany of unnecessary and expensive requirements that can be repealed.

In addition, Western New York’s low-wealth schools have been unfairly burdened by education cuts in recent years. We must protect our community’s schools from having their budgets pilfered in favor of wealthy, downstate districts.

I am encouraged by the governor’s commitment to economic development, but the question, as always, is “How will we pay for this?” As we turn the corner on economic recovery, we must fund these worthy projects by eliminating wasteful spending, not by raising taxes.

From the office of Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer:

By working together in 2011, the State Legislature reduced spending and the size of government, closed a $10 billion deficit without new taxes, and lowered tax rates for the middle class. For 2012, the State Legislature must continue to work together and further build upon its successes of the prior year.

The State Legislature must again close a $3 billion deficit with cuts to spending, not with tax increases. Mandate relief – especially pension and Medicaid reform – must be passed to ensure the property tax cap works for both property taxpayers and local governments. However, the critical goal for this year should be ensuring Albany supports policies and programs that will encourage companies to locate and create jobs in Western New York.

That is why I am encouraged by the governor’s proposal to provide $1 billion in multi-year economic development incentives for the Buffalo region, to attract major companies to invest billions of dollars and create thousands of jobs in Western New York. I am even more pleased to hear his proposal for a second round of $200 million in competitive grants for our regional economic development councils.

As the 2012 Legislative Session begins, I am hopeful that the governor and State Legislature can again work together to build on the successes of last year.”

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