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George Borrello

Borrello introduces bill to require comptroller review of tribal - state compacts

By Press Release
Jun 5, 2023, 6:12pm

Press Release: 

Sen. George Borrello

As negotiations on a new gaming compact continue between New York State and the Seneca Nation, Sen. George Borrello has introduced legislation that would enhance the integrity of the process by authorizing the New York State Comptroller to review any tribal-state compact and recommend approval or needed changes.

Senator Borrello cited the need for this change by pointing to current negotiations between the Seneca Nation and the Hochul administration. He noted that although the Governor has recused herself from compact negotiations because of the conflict of interest presented by her husband’s position with a company in competition with the Seneca Nation, she is still the only official that can approve the contract.  

“The partnership between the Seneca Nation and New York’s executive branch has been strained for several years, largely over disagreements concerning revenue from Seneca casinos. Those tensions, combined with the Governor’s institutional role in the process which makes full recusal difficult, underscore the importance of a full and impartial review by the State Comptroller,” said Senator Borrello. “There is too much at stake, not only for the Senecas but for the state, to allow the process to be compromised by politics and conflict. This is a common-sense proposal that would improve the process and help ensure a fair outcome.”  

The original Seneca Nation Compact was authorized in 2002. The agreement cleared the way for the development of three Seneca casinos in Western New York.  The Seneca Niagara Casino opened in 2002, followed by the Salamanca location in 2004 and the Buffalo location in 2007. Terms of the compact included the Seneca Nation paying 25 percent, which is approximately $100 million a year, of the slot and video lottery machine revenues to the state, with a portion of that directed to each casino’s host city. In return, the compact grants the Nation exclusive rights to operate Class III casinos in Western New York.  

The casinos and their related businesses have an estimated $1 billion annual economic impact on Western New York and provide more than 6,000 jobs. 

“The Seneca Nation territories and residents are within the 57th District which makes this issue a priority for me. They are friends and neighbors to me and other district residents, so the delays and challenges they are encountering in the negotiating process are a significant concern,” said Senator Borrello. “Their world-class gaming facilities have transformed the economy of Western New York and they have been good partners to the state. They deserve a fair and equitable compact and my bill would help advance that goal.” 

Borrello responds to Hochul's idea of migrant housing

By Press Release
May 18, 2023, 9:45pm

Senator George Borrello sent Governor Kathy Hochul a letter of concern pertaining to her recent plans to move migrants to SUNY campuses. 

Press Release:

Dear Governor Hochul, 

In light of the news that upstate SUNY campuses are being considered as temporary migrant housing, I am writing to urge you to suspend this plan immediately out of concern for the strains on security and resources that such an influx would have on these campuses and the surrounding communities.

I am especially opposed to SUNY Fredonia being chosen as a migrant housing location. Our community does not have the resources that would be required to underwrite the costs of housing, feeding and meeting the many needs that immigrants will require. Our rural upstate social service network is already overburdened by the services required by our own community members.

New York City, a self-designated ‘sanctuary city’, does not have the right or the authority to send economic migrants to other counties in the state without the proper funding, coordination and approval of those counties. Additionally, these migrants have not been properly vetted by U.S. immigration authorities and pose a risk to public safety.

It is important for our state and federal governments to acknowledge their role in creating this crisis and take responsibility for this disastrous outcome.

New York’s immigration crisis is the result of its ‘sanctuary state’ status and policies like the 2020 Green Light Law granting non-citizen, undocumented migrants the ability to get a driver's license. New York’s Green Light law bars federal authorities from accessing New York’s motor vehicle database to enforce U.S. immigration policies and laws. The Green Light Law and its sanctuary status have made New York State the perfect place for undocumented immigrants to settle and avoid deportation.

At a time when New Yorkers face an affordability crisis, and we lead the nation in outmigration, the last thing we should do is add to the burden of hardworking taxpayers and business owners by handing them the bill for resettling migrants who came here illegally. 

My constituents do not support New York’s sanctuary status designation or policies and should not be punished by Washington’s unwillingness to protect our nation’s borders or bad policies adopted by Albany or New York City.

Thank you for your consideration. I would be happy to discuss this issue with you in more detail. 

George M. Borrello
Senator, 57th District

Hawley, Borrello issue statements reacting to new state budget

By Press Release
May 2, 2023, 11:05pm

Statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“Our state budget has finally passed, only a month later than it should have. Not only were there numerous empty seats on the side of the Majority as we trudged through the debate and voting process, but this budget is prepared to spend $229 billion worth of taxpayer dollars. That’s double the budget of Florida and Texas, despite New York having fewer residents than either of those states. Spending indiscriminately and passing the costs over to taxpayers almost unilaterally is not the way to attract or retain people or business to this state, and I fear it will continue the downward trend of New York’s economic strength.”

Statement from State Sen. George Borrello:

“New Yorkers have heard repeatedly over this last month that ‘the right budget is more important than an 
on-time budget.’  

“Yet, the sad truth is all the extra time did not produce ‘the right budget.’ It produced another bad budget that, once again, ignores New Yorkers’ top concerns – affordability and public safety – and spends us into a fiscal death spiral. At $229 billion, this budget means we will be spending $627 million in taxpayer dollars every single day.  

“Government watchdogs have decried the reckless spending which will explode next year’s projected budget gap and set us up for a long-term structural deficit of over $15 billion. New Yorkers, who already pay the highest taxes in the nation, will not find any relief in this budget and may very well see increases in the not-too-distant future because of the excessive spending. Property taxpayers are also at risk of higher taxes in the next few years as the state begins withholding federal Medicaid funds that were designed to help counties with these costs.  

“Throughout the process, the narrative we’ve heard is that the governor was fighting for changes to the bail law to strengthen public safety. Many people had high hopes that we would finally get a significant tightening of the disastrous changes that have transformed our criminal justice system into a dangerous revolving door. Disappointingly, the promised changes are nothing but a shell game that will do nothing to reverse the tide of rising crime. Ninety percent of crimes are still not eligible for bail. Judges still do not have the discretion they need to hold dangerous individuals, despite the rewording of the ‘least restrictive’ standard.  

“With a budget process conducted behind closed doors, it is easy to slide in controversial items in the last minute to prevent opposition from having time to organize. We saw that happen with the addition of a provision to dismantle the existing board and governance structure of the Western Regional OTB. This blatant power grab will undermine the voices of the rural counties that are part of the OTB board and put at risk the successful operation of Batavia Downs, the only profitable Western Regional OTB location.   

“While elected officials love to proclaim their support for small businesses, ‘actions speak louder than words,’ as they say. Small businesses’ requests for the state to help pay down the crushing COVID-era unemployment insurance debt that was unfairly dumped in their laps were ignored once again. Adding insult to injury, small businesses, farms and employers of every size will have to find a way to finance the higher minimum wage mandates in this budget, even as the last increase is less than six months old.  

“There were a few positive outcomes worth noting. The advocacy of myself and my colleagues was effective in removing the Executive Budget’s harmful housing mandates that would have steamrolled over localities’ home rule rights with regard to zoning and right sizing communities.  

“It is also encouraging that the fierce opposition of myself and the members of our Conference on the governor’s all-electric mandates helped remove her proposed requirements on existing homes from this budget. However, the mandates for new construction remain and are set to begin in 2025, which will have a devastating impact on the construction sector and related industries. That is just one of many fights that remain on this critically important issue.    

“New Yorkers deserve ‘the right budget’ and an on-time budget. This year, they received neither.”  

Possible restructuring of WROTB board of directors has local Republican lawmakers up in arms

By Mike Pettinella
Apr 28, 2023, 6:09pm

Local New York State politicians are speaking out against a report that Democratic legislators and Gov. Kathy Hochul are considering changes to the structure of the board of directors of Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, Sen. George Borrello and Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, all Republicans, issued statements Thursday and today, indicating their opposition to what they believe is a proposal to eliminate individual counties’ authority to select WROTB directors.

Press release from Tenney:

“For 50 years, Western Regional Off Track Betting has shared operational control between 15 county governments and the Cities of Rochester and Buffalo. Under this established system, Western Regional OTB has brought jobs, tax revenue, and entertainment to Western New York. Over the past two years, Western OTB returned over $13.9 million to offset local county taxes across Western New York,

“County leaders throughout New York’s 24th district have reached out concerned about efforts to dismantle, politicize, and disadvantage rural communities within Western Regional OTB. When ‘Home Rule’ created the ownership of Western Regional OTB, member counties were given equal representation. NYS Senate Bill 7855 would strip rural counties of their 50-year established authority of this public-private sector partnership in favor of Governor Hochul and left-wing legislators in Albany.

“I stand with local leaders across the district in calling on Kathy Hochul to drop this misguided plan. It should be dead on arrival during budget negotiations in the Albany sewer. With a budget that is nearly four weeks late, a crime surge, and historic mass outmigration, Albany Democrats should leave Western OTB alone and focus on the real problems facing New Yorkers.”

Press release from Borrello:

“Although they already control the major levers of power in Albany, that hasn’t stopped Democrat One-Party Rule for brazenly and continually hunting for more opportunities to conquer and silence those outside their control. Their latest power grab targets Western Regional Off-Track Betting which has operated for five decades under a model of shared operational control between 15 county governments and the Cities of Rochester and Buffalo.

"However, changes under consideration right now would eliminate this cooperative structure of the past 50 years and replace it with a politicized board that would do Albany’s bidding. The voices of our rural counties would be silenced and the jobs and revenue they depend on put at risk.

"I am fiercely opposed to this last-minute attempt to slide this controversial proposal into the budget as the final details come together. It is another shameful attempt at rigging the system for political purposes and should be rejected.”

Statement from Hawley:

Hawley called the proposal "a power grab trying to diminish the influence of smaller, less populated counties."

"It's called Western New York OTB, not Erie County OTB," he said, responding to a text message from The Batavian. "This is similar to what Western New York complains about in the State Legislature. Excessive control by New York City. Shameful and wrong."

WROTB President/Chief Executive Officer Henry Wojtaszek, contacted today, said he and Board Chair Richard Bianchi are monitoring the situation.

“We are waiting to find out what the actual language of the proposed legislation is before making an official statement,” Wojtaszek said.

Currently, the individuals serving on WROTB’s 17-member board, which represents its 17-member municipalities, are appointed by their county or city (Buffalo and Rochester) legislative bodies.

Borrello critical of confirmation of Rowan Wilson to Court of Appeals

By Press Release
Apr 18, 2023, 7:09pm

Press release:

Statement from Senator George Borrello:

“With the Senate Majority’s confirmation of Justice Rowan Wilson for Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, they have won their months-long campaign to transform the state’s highest court with their brand of progressivism.  

They rejected Judge Hector LaSalle, a brilliant and independent jurist with the administrative experience the role demands, in favor of an activist judge. Judge Wilson will be more likely to legislate from the bench and willing to ‘interpret’ the law and State Constitution however necessary to advance a liberal agenda.  

With the state budget now 18 days late, chiefly because of the Legislature’s resistance to amending disastrous criminal justice reforms that have made our streets more dangerous and victims more numerous, today’s judicial confirmation makes it clear that they are as committed as ever to their radical agenda. Everyday New Yorkers’ concerns over public safety and the direction of our state have been ignored yet again.  

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens.

Senator vows to be 'voice of common sense' in Albany at town hall meeting

By Howard B. Owens
Apr 13, 2023, 5:34pm

Upstate opposition to downstate policies is showing some small signs of success, State Sen. George Borrello told a group of residents at Batavia City Hall on Tuesday.

The residents gathered in Council Chambers for a 'Town Hall Meeting' hosted by Borrello, who represents the reconstituted 57th Senate District, which now includes Genesee County.

On the progress front, Borrello pointed to bail reform.  Gov. Kathy Hochul is backing some changes to the current bail laws in the current proposed budget, Borrello said.

"I can tell you that it's broken, and we're fighting an uphill battle," Borrello said. "We're into the wind every day, but we are making progress. The bottom line is it's up to the people of New York when the majority of people -- three out of four people in New York state, including New York City -- feel that bail reform needs to change. The governor right now she's backpedaling like crazy. She's trying to back herself out of all the promises she made when she was running, when she was down in New York City, abandoning her Western New York values to get re-elected or to get elected for the first time. But when she won by only 1,000 votes, she realized that something's got to change. So I don't have a whole lot of faith in her in many ways, but I think she's at least realizing that she's gonna have to figure out a way to right this ship. Otherwise, she's not going to be around much longer as our governor."

There's also growing opposition to proposals for solar panels and windmills all over the state, Borrello said.

He called the push for solar in the state "nothing but crony capitalism" that is doing more to enrich China than fight climate change.

"Let me tell you something, the proliferation of solar and wind in Upstate New York, this is not about climate change," Borrello said. "This is not about clean energy. It's about money. This is about a bunch of former used car salesmen inundating everybody with these contracts."

Borrello said he is also fighting to protect farms on other fronts, such as opposing changes to the overtime threshold for farm workers.

It's another area where upstate interests are making small progress.  Hochul, he said, is proposing a tax credit for farmers who do wind up paying overtime under the rule changes.

He also said a program that helps direct food from local farms to food banks has been made permanent.

"(Now) farmers can plan for it, and food banks can budget for it," Borrello said.

Upstate opposition to Hochul's housing plans, which reportedly could have forced municipalities to abandon their own zoning ordinance, has led to small changes.  The goal of building more affordable housing will be achieved through incentives rather than penalties, he said.

"I'm still not convinced," Borrello said. "There's still a backdoor way for the state to, essentially, bypass local zoning, local control. It's a bad idea. If you want to make housing more affordable in New York State, make New York State more affordable. That's the best way to do it."

Borrello said most of his colleagues in Albany lack the business experience (he and his wife own multiple small businesses, employing more than 200 people) necessary to help them understand the impact of their decisions on the people of New York.  They're insulated from the effects of those decisions, he said.  And while he's aware of reports of people fleeing the state because of high taxes and overregulation, he plans to stick around and try to make things better for New Yorkers.

"I'm here to stay and fight," he said. "Because this is a great place to be. It's a great place to live. I don't want to leave here. I don't want anyone else to leave here any more. So we're going to continue to fight back. We're gonna continue to push back and be that voice of common sense in Albany."

Photos by Nicholas Serrata.

Borrello announces availability of $4k scholarships

By Press Release
Mar 8, 2023, 3:13pm

Press release:

New York State Senator George Borrello announced that the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators is accepting applications for four $4,000 scholarships, two academic and two athletic.  

Scholarships are available to residents of the 57th Senate District who are current college students or high school seniors entering college. Students can access and complete the application by visiting:

The application deadline is Monday, March 27.  

“This is an excellent scholarship opportunity for high school seniors and college students in the 57th Senate District who have worked hard, distinguished themselves from their peers and intend to pursue higher education,” Senator Borrello said. “With college costs continually rising, this is a chance to lessen the financial burden that is a concern for so many young people and their families. I encourage eligible students in my district to apply.”  

Applicants should have a grade point average of 85 or higher; be active in community service and extracurricular activities and demonstrate financial need. In addition to these qualifications, students applying for an athletic scholarship must also be involved in an organized sport(s). Applicants need not be of Italian-American heritage to apply. 

Scholarship recipients will be announced in May, and the winners will be honored at a ceremony in Albany. 

The New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators is a bipartisan organization of state Assembly and Senate members who actively promote and celebrate the state’s Italian-American community. 

Earlier this year, Senator Borrello was chosen by his Senate and Assembly colleagues to serve as president of the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators. 

Borrello critical of Hochul's proposed budget

By Press Release
Feb 1, 2023, 6:51pm

Press release:

Following the release of the Executive Budget proposal by Governor Kathy Hochul, Senator George Borrello issued the following comments:  

“There is no more obvious message that New York State is on the wrong track than our unrivaled national standing as ‘number one’ for the outmigration of our residents. That fact should be a call to action for our Governor as she charts the path forward for our state.  

“While we will be delving into the details in the coming days, the initial takeaway from the Executive Budget proposal released today is that we are looking at more of the same policies and approach that got us where we are.  

“Rather than make badly needed structural reforms in programs where growth is exploding and leading us toward dangerous levels of debt as Comptroller DiNapoli noted this week, this massive $227 billion budget simply funnels more money into areas of the budget that we know are rife with inefficiency and abuse, such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Medicaid.  

“Missing is the tax relief that our residents need to keep household budgets afloat as inflation and rising energy costs compound New York’s already-high cost of living. The stronger public safety measures and bail reform rollbacks New Yorkers have cited as their number one priority are nowhere.  

“Our small businesses, who are crying out for relief from the nearly $8 billion in pandemic unemployment debt that they have been unfairly saddled with, have apparently been hung out to dry once again. A corporate tax that was due to expire is being extended and all New York City and suburban employers downstate will have to pay an increased MTA payroll tax.  

“What all these actions indicate is that the rhetoric about reversing the outmigration of residents and jobs and revitalizing the New York dream, is just that: rhetoric. This is another budget of missed opportunities.” 

Borrello named president of New York Conference of Italian-American Legislators

By Press Release
Jan 22, 2023, 3:47pm

Press release

New York State Senator George Borrello was chosen by his Senate and Assembly colleagues to serve as President of the New York Conference of Italian-American State Legislators. The mission of the bipartisan organization is to highlight the significant contributions of Italian-Americans to the state of New York.

“I am grateful to my colleagues for choosing me to serve as President of the New York Conference of Italian-American Legislators. New York State is home to over three million residents of Italian descent whose economic, social and cultural contributions make our state stronger and enrich the diversity of our cities and communities,” said Senator Borrello.

“My great-grandparents came here from Italy and worked hard to provide for their family. They cherished the freedom and opportunities that America gave them, but also kept alive the traditions and culture of their homeland. My heritage is a point of pride for my fellow members and me. Our goals are to celebrate our Italian-American community, foster goodwill among our colleagues and provide educational opportunities to deserving young people through the scholarship program.

The organization meets several times during the legislative session. Its annual activities include a scholarship program to help students with the cost of college or any post-high school education and the popular Festa Italiana, a celebration of Italian culture with live music, vendors and Italian food.

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens

Borrello named chair of GOP campaign committee for Senate

By Press Release
Jan 11, 2023, 6:27pm

Press release:

Today, the New York State Senate Republicans announced Senator George Borrello as the new Chair of their campaign committee for the upcoming election cycle. Leader Rob Ortt selected Borrello to succeed Senator Pam Helming, who has led the campaign committee as Chairwoman since July 2020. 

“I want to thank Senator George Borrello for stepping into this role to help us grow the Senate Republican Conference,” said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt. “An effective campaign committee is critical to our goal of electing Republican Senators who will fight to make New York safer and more affordable, and help end one-party rule in Albany. I am confident Senator Borrello has the energy and leadership skills necessary to strengthen our political operation heading into 2024 and compete in every corner of this state.”

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to Chair the Senate Republican Campaign Committee. I am grateful to Leader Ortt for the opportunity and commend Senator Helming for her leadership the past several years,” said Senator George Borrello. “This past election proved that the Republican Party can compete and win in every region of the state. I am excited to get to work recruiting top-tier candidates and developing the resources, relationships and alliances that will help us end one-party domination of our state government.”

“Having served as SRCC Chair since July of 2020, I am extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish. In these past two years, we elected thirteen new Republican Senators and recruited hundreds of first-time donors to SRCC,” said Senator Pam Helming. “As Senator Borrello takes over as Chair, I know he will build upon our efforts to bring qualified leaders to our conference, strengthen our partnerships and continue to grow our base of support across the state. While I take on new roles within the conference, Leader Ortt, Senator Borrello, and the SRCC team will continue to have my full support.”

“Senator Pam Helming has done a superb job as Chairwoman, and our entire conference owes her a debt of gratitude for her stewardship,” continued Ortt. “During her time as Chair, Senator Helming helped recruit and elect outstanding candidates. This past election she helped us grow our Long Island delegation, expanded our donor base and strengthened our relationships with the Republican infrastructure across the state. I am proud of all her accomplishments and thank her for leaving the committee in a better place than she found it as Senator Borrello takes on the role as Chair.”

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens

State represenatives react to governor's 2023 State of the State message

By Press Release
Jan 10, 2023, 11:02pm

Statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“Speaking about issues is certainly different from acting on them. If Gov. Hochul wants change in New York, she will have to offer proposals that don’t just benefit her political base. It is my sincere hope she will work with us to fix their disastrous bail “reform”, resume the elimination of state sales tax on gasoline, and to pass our inflation relief bill that would slash taxes on home heating fuel and groceries.”

“Public safety and affordability of basic items are issues that affect New Yorkers daily. This year, I look forward to seeing whether Gov. Hochul takes strides to work with us in a bipartisan manner for the betterment of all New Yorkers.”

Statement from State Senator George Borrello:

“As we approach a new legislative session and fresh opportunities to steer New York State in a positive direction, there were proposals in the Governor’s State of the State address that sounded promising and others that raised red flags.  

“I was glad to hear Governor Hochul recognize that New York State’s outmigration is a problem we can no longer ignore. Acknowledgement is the first step in fixing any problem. However, the blueprint she outlined won’t stop the exodus. Some crowd-pleasing talking points accompanied a series of proposals that fall short of the change in direction we need..  

“Perhaps the biggest disappointment was her lack of emphasis on public safety. Since our bail and parole laws were turned upside down, crime has spiraled in our cities and communities. While the Governor made vague references to ‘room for improvement’ with regard to the bail law, we need more than a lukewarm fix, particularly with poll after poll finding crime is the number one issue for New Yorkers. This so-called ‘reform’ has been such a disaster, we need to repeal it and start over.  

“I do agree that strengthening our mental health system should be a priority and was encouraged at the investments the Governor promised in expanding inpatient mental health beds, outpatient services and better continuity of care. Proven programs like assisted outpatient treatment (AOT), a.k.a. Kendra’s Law, are tragically underutilized which is why I support legislation that would expand its impact.  

“While we can agree that our state needs more affordable housing, the Governor’s proposal to make local governments responsible for achieving this or risk having the state step in and take over set off alarm bells. Restrictive zoning changes aren’t the only reason affordable housing is in short supply. The state’s overregulated construction industry, high taxes and other state-created obstacles play a role as well and unless changes are made on those issues, we won’t achieve a lasting solution.  

“Our small businesses could be devastated by some of the proposals floated in this address, including the idea of tying the minimum wage to inflation and the Cap and Invest proposal. Another glaring omission was any mention of the state finally taking responsibility for its fraud-fueled $8 billion in unemployment insurance debt, which it has unjustly placed on the shoulders of our employers.” 

“I look forward to receiving more detail on these proposals in the Executive Budget. While we all aspire to restore the ‘New York Dream’ the Governor referenced, we need a fundamental shift in direction to achieve that. Nothing I heard today has convinced me that true, significant change is on the agenda.   

For more on Gov. Kathy Hochul's State of the State message, visit the governor's website.

Borrello sworn into redrawn 57th State Senate District, now representing Genesee County

By Press Release
Jan 5, 2023, 3:47pm

Press release:

Senator George Borrello was sworn in as the representative of the 57th State Senate District on Wednesday, Jan. 4. The ceremony took place in the Senate Chamber just prior to the official start of the 2023 Legislative Session.  

“It is a tremendous privilege to have the opportunity to represent and serve the residents of the 57th Senate District and to continue my work on behalf of the betterment of our state. Going into this new session, my priorities are centered around making New York State safer, more affordable and more supportive of its job creators,” said Senator Borrello. “I also am excited about representing the residents of Genesee and Wyoming counties, who are now part of the newly expanded 57th District.  

The boundaries of the newly drawn district include Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Genesee, Wyoming and the western half of Allegany County. The district is one of the largest in the state, spanning approximately 4,500 square miles.  

Senator Borrello also announced that he will continue serving as the Ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee, a role he first assumed in July 2020. He will also continue serving as the Ranking Member on the Banks Committee and as a member of the Finance Committee. Additionally, he was appointed as a new member of the following committees: Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business; Elections; Housing, and Insurance.  

“I appreciate the opportunity to continue my instrumental role on the Agriculture Committee at this pivotal time for our farmers and agribusinesses. The new overtime mandates approved by the Labor Commissioner in 2022 are poised to present a whole new set of challenges to this industry and multi-generational farm families. Our fight against these changes was one of the most intense efforts of the past two years. Now that they are set to take effect, we need to take steps to mitigate the impact or we will lose more of our family farms,” said Sen. Borrello.  

“I also look forward to bringing my perspective as a small business owner to the Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business Committee. The pandemic response created many challenges for employers that continue to persist. The most critical of these is the billions in unemployment insurance debt owed by the state to the federal government. Currently, small businesses are being forced to shoulder the burden of repaying the debt and replenishing the fund, which is unacceptable,” said Sen. Borrello.  

“There are so many important issues facing our state right now, which I look forward to addressing in all of the key committees I’ve been appointed to. I am grateful to Leader Ortt for entrusting me with these responsibilities and opportunities to shape the legislative agenda in Albany.”  

Borrello issues statement following State Senate victory

By Press Release
Nov 9, 2022, 10:37am

Press release:

Following the election results for the 57th Senate District, Senator George Borrello, issued the following statement on his overwhelming re-election win:  

“I am deeply honored that the hardworking people of the new 57th Senate District have chosen me to be their voice in Albany and to continue my work on their behalf. They have my sincerest thanks. It is the people in our community who inspire my public service and I look forward to continuing to work for goals that will make their lives stronger, safer, and more prosperous.

Just as exciting are the incredible victories of our Senate Republican Conference. Beginning January 1, we expect to have several additional members working with us to get New York back on track. These wins are a testament to the extraordinary leadership of our Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt, the efforts of our Republican candidates, and the support of voters who realized that change was crucial.

Even as the final vote tallies in the race for governor are being finalized, the closeness of this race - in a state with a 2 to 1 Democratic advantage - is a stunning achievement for gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin and a sign that New York’s electorate has responded to his message and agenda for change. This campaign was truly a ‘David versus Goliath’ fight which makes Rep. Zeldin’s showing all the more compelling. He attracted strong support across all party affiliations and all regions of the state, including New York City, which underscores how forcefully his messages on public safety and affordability resonated with voters. His mission to ‘save our state’ will not end, no matter what the final outcome of this race.

I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to heed the powerful message New Yorkers sent them in this election cycle. In electing more Republicans to represent them, voters indicated they don’t support the radical far-left agenda of the Democratic Party’s leadership. Job one for Republicans come January is to get to work repairing the damage and fixing the mistakes of the past four years. It is time to give New Yorkers the safer and stronger state they want and deserve.”

Senate candidate emphasizes support of local businesses during tour of Downtown Batavia

By Howard B. Owens
Nov 6, 2022, 10:19pm

As an elected official and small business owner himself, George Borrello said he's always found it important to maintain a relationship with the small business owners he represents.

He hopes to represent the business owners in Batavia, if he's successful in his campaign to represent Genesee County as part of the 57th State Senate District, so on Saturday, he toured several businesses in Downtown Batavia.

After COVID lockdowns, workforce challenges, a minimum wage increase, the increased cost of doing business in New York, it's more important than ever, Borrello said, for him to talk with his fellow small business owners.

"I just want to make sure I'm in touch with the folks here," said Borrello, a former member of the Legislature in Cattaraugus County and current holder of the 57th District (which won't include Genesee County until next year).  

He applauded the effort of downtown businesses in Batavia to band together and revitalize their community.

He said supporting locally owned businesses is important because small businesses are what drives New York's economy.

"First of all, 50 percent of our economy in New York State is supported by small business," Borello said. "They employ 50 percent of every working person in New York State. But right now, especially if you're talking about the economic driver, of our nation, it is small business. So if we allow the businesses to languish, then it's going to destroy the quality of life in communities like Batavia. It's also going to have a negative impact on our overall economy. So for me, supporting all the small businesses that are the backbone of the economy, is part of the mission of ensuring that New York stays strong."

On Saturday, Borrello visited Valle Jewelers, Eli Fish Brewing Co., Charles Men's Shop, Hunt Realtors, and Adam Miller Toy and Bike.

And there might have been a little Christmas shopping involved.

"I prefer to do what I can to support fellow local businesses," Borrello said. "But also, I found that's a better, more unique way to find gifts that I would have never thought of. So for me, it's also been a great way to, to kind of do some enhanced Christmas shopping and provide the people that I give gifts to with some unique stuff."

Photos by Howard Owens. George Borrello visiting Valle Jewelers and speaking with co-owner Carrie Lawrence.

Three questions for candidates in the 57th State Senate District

By Howard B. Owens
Nov 6, 2022, 4:46pm

We emailed three questions to the candidates for the 57th State Senate District, George Borrello and Dan Brown.  Unfortunately, Mr. Brown did not respond.  

UPDATE: Dan Brown responded Sunday evening.  While we had sent a reminder to a leader in his party on Thursday, we mistakenly omitted his name from the reminder email.  Since this was our mistake, we've agreed to publish his answers even though they were received after his opponents answers were published.  His answers are at the bottom of this post.

What is the number one issue facing New York, and how will you address it in the Senate?

BORRELLO: The number one issue facing New York State right now are the disastrous criminal justice reforms – namely cashless bail and the parole law titled, Less is More – that took effect in 2020 and have been responsible for soaring crime rates in our cities and communities. Certainly, our largest cities have suffered the most under these laws: Rochester’s per capita murder rate now outpaces Chicago’s; violent crime in New York City is up nearly 40 percent; car thefts in Buffalo are up approximately 200 percent. Even in smaller communities like ours, law enforcement officials report significant increases in shoplifting, drug crimes, car theft, domestic violence and drunken driving. When individuals know that there are no consequences for committing crimes, they have no incentive to curb criminal behavior. Repealing these laws is the most urgent priority. Then, we can bring all stakeholders to the table (which wasn’t done by those who wrote the original cashless bail law) and craft smart reforms that will be fair to defendants while keeping New Yorkers safe.

What do you think you could do as a member of the Senate to bring more new businesses, start-up, homegrown businesses to Genesee County, to foster entrepreneurship in Genesee County?

BORRELLO: As a small business owner myself, I know how difficult New York State makes it for entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs to start and grow a business. Our state is routinely ranked as the worst place to do business in New York State. One initiative that would act as a strong incentive for entrepreneurship is a measure that I sponsor called the “First Employee Tax Credit.” This proposal is a payroll tax credit to assist small businesses with the disproportionate rise in costs that result from hiring one employee.

Another key factor in creating a climate where entrepreneurship can thrive is ensuring our rural areas have access to broadband. For far too long, broadband access in our rural communities has been nonexistent or inadequate. That is why I led the fight to get the fiber optic tax levied by the state DOT repealed. This particular tax was killing the potential for broadband projects in rural areas with costs that increased in direct proportion to the length of cable to be installed. In rural areas where miles of cable are often required just to reach a single house, this tax was simply ridiculous. After three years of advocacy and building bipartisan support, I am pleased to report the tax was finally repealed in the latest state budget. This is important progress we will be looking to build on in the coming session.    

What is one policy initiative that the political party of your opponent espouses that you think makes sense, is good policy?

BORRELLO: One area of policy where I am in agreement with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle is on the need to provide more funding and support for those who care for our most vulnerable residents. The Cuomo administration neglected this segment of our human services community for years, resulting in wages for direct care providers that were often less than the starting pay at fast food restaurants. Not surprisingly, this has created a crisis-level workforce shortage among the non-profit providers that care for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Providers cannot find or retain staff, programs are closing and individuals are not having their needs met. We made some headway in addressing this crisis in this year’s budget, with a 5.4 percent statutory cost-of-living adjustment as well as some recruitment and retention initiatives, but more still needs to be done. There is strong bi-partisan support on this issue, so you can be sure I will be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make more progress.

Answers from Dan Brown.

Q1: Taxes. NY state carries some of the highest personal tax rates in the nation. The tax on our income, prepared food, clothing, fuel, property, school, and the tolls to drive on our roads - we are overtaxed, forcing those who can to either live or shop out of state.  The state government needs to attempt to follow the same tax regulations as schools and municipalities. As a fiscally conservative town supervisor of Great Valley for the past 17 years, the town has never exceeded the tax cap and has maintained a healthy contingency reserve. When I look at the 57th District, I see my town in every community. We need to rein in spending locally and especially at the state level and make our state affordable for our seniors, our working force, and our youth.  

Q2: Businesses are struggling to find a workforce. The development of educational agencies around the needs of local businesses is mandatory. I am a huge proponent of trade and technical schools. Apprenticeships to training people and specialized programs affording our young people the knowledge to be able to fill job vacancies here. Regardless of the job site in the 57th District, the technician shows up with a laptop before a wrench. Second, our infrastructure is lagging, power, water, sewer, and roads; every business looks for those fundamentals before the ground is broken on any project. A solid infrastructure shows a commitment to businesses. 

Q3: The Anti-Crime Initiative, municipalities need all the help they can get in mitigating the level of crime occurring in large cities. Bail Reform goes hand in hand and needs to be overhauled as well. The negative impact it has on our communities is felt far and wide, as the chairman of the Cattaraugus County Town Supervisors Association, every one of us is frustrated. Every local, county, and state judge feels that way. It creates an unsafe situation for the police, our friends, and our neighbors. It’s a priority. 

Video: Meet and Greet with Sen. George Borrello

By Howard B. Owens
Sep 16, 2022, 9:00am
Video Sponsor

State Sen. George Borello is a small business owner from Chautauqua County. He has represented the 57th State Senate district for three years.  In 2023, the 57th District will include Genesee County.  On Wednesday, Charles Men's Shop hosted a meet and greet for Borello and he spoke for a few minutes with The Batavian.

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