Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:
2021 LEGISLATIVE RECAP: SENSELESS SPENDING AND AN ABSENCE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
This last year, industry and society at large have shifted drastically as the challenges we’ve faced have forced us to be more innovative and resilient than ever before. However, even as private businesses and families alike found new ways to thrive while braving a pandemic, it was another year of business as usual for the Governor and his allies in the legislative Majority.
They worked to raise taxes, chip away further at our constitutional rights and construct the most expensive budget in our state’s history, a monstrous proposal that spends more than Texas and Florida do within a year COMBINED, while doing little for those who need help most.
Giving recovering small businesses less than half of what’s being given to undocumented immigrants in direct assistance is unconscionable, and there’s nothing progressive about letting small, family-owned businesses die for the sake of helping people who broke our laws to be here.
These small businesses are built up over decades through generations, and are places where people find their first jobs or even their lifelong careers. They are what make the towns, villages and cities where we live the unique and special places we know them to be, and it has been incredibly saddening to see so many of them continue to struggle when there’s so much more we could have done to support them, their employees and the communities they serve.
What has been even worse than the Majority’s failure to provide adequate assistance to our small business owners, has been their unwillingness to stand up to the governor’s active attempts to encumber their success.
Even as he remained embroiled in scandal and under investigation at multiple levels of government, they refused to meaningfully curtail his emergency authority or rescind any of the restrictions he placed on small businesses, even as available scientific data demonstrated that they were unnecessary.
Despite all of the questions surrounding his conduct, and especially his handling of nursing homes during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor held a grip on power as firm as ever as we left Albany after session. Even as the Assembly itself has conducted an investigation throughout the last several months into his multiple potential wrongdoings, we still have nothing to show for it.
While this year was largely disappointing, legislatively speaking, there was at least one bright spot within it that I feel we should all be proud of. After fighting to make it happen for years and having my proposals to do so shot down in committee, I was proud to see a bill passed (A.7865) that will provide free tuition to members of Gold Star families.
While I wish we were able to pass this bill even earlier to begin helping Gold Star families as soon as possible, President Reagan said it best, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.”
So I am simply relieved to see this idea become law one way or another. It is indeed heartening that on at least one issue we were able to come together and do the right thing, so I am hopeful that next year we can build upon that success bearing in mind who we really need to be helping here in New York State.