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Mike Ranzenhofer

May 10, 2013 - 10:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in taxes, Mike Ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer today urged New Yorkers to sign his new online petition, rejecting Federal budget proposals that would increase taxes on Western New Yorkers by an average of $2,800. Residents can sign the petition by visiting Senator Ranzenhofer’s Web site, ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.
 
“If enacted, this federal budget proposal would negatively impact the budgets of thousands of Western New Yorkers. I am urging Western New Yorkers to say NO to a new $2,800 tax increase,” Ranzenhofer said. “It is important for residents to be heard on this issue. By working together, we can send a strong message to Washington that Western New Yorkers are not an ATM machine.”
 
New Federal budget proposals would end a longstanding policy of allowing taxpayers to deduct state and local tax liability, including property taxes, on Federal tax returns. Eliminating the deduction would effectively double tax residents, since residents would be subject to Federal tax on income used to pay state and local taxes.
 
The impact of the proposal in Western New York is estimated to increase tax bills by an average of $2,800 for more than 139,101 residents. Federal tax bills for affected taxpayers would increase by an average of 30 percent.
 
Additional information is available in a report by Governor Cuomo, entitled "Impact on New Yorkers of Federal Tax Proposals," at http://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/Impact-of-Federal-Tax-Proposals.pdf.
April 18, 2013 - 3:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer, 2nd Amendment.

Press release:

Batavia, N.Y. – State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced that he has added his name as a cosponsor to legislation (S3948) repealing the NYSAFE Act.

“When a bill is rushed to passage without proper review by the public and then passed in the middle of the night, the end result has a negative impact on residents. Since passage of the NYSAFE Act, I have heard from many concerned citizens, mental health professionals, county clerks and local government officials with very serious concerns about this new law.  In the past week alone, there have been numerous news reports that illustrate the law is not working for Western  New Yorkers. That is why I have signed on to legislation that would repeal the NYSAFE Act,” said Ranzenhofer.

Senator Ranzenhofer has written to New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico, requesting a meeting to discuss recent reports that the State Police may have been instructed to investigate personal medical records for mental health cases and prescriptions for mental health issues.

The letter states: “Any unwarranted search of personal medical information could not only violate federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules, but raises serious ethical and constitutional concerns. Furthermore, simply owning a firearm should not be grounds for reviewing a citizen’s medical history.” 

Senator Ranzenhofer plans to introduce new legislation in the State Senate to prevent law enforcement officials from accessing medical records without a warrant or in violation of federal HIPAA privacy rules.

"The SAFE Act Law has dominated our office activity, staff time, and resources since the middle of January.  From the Opt-Out forms to registration of "assault" rifles and shotguns, from Mental Health Notifications to recertification procedures, we find we are besieged on all sides. Previous "unfunded mandates" for our office pale in comparison to what it will cost the county, and its taxpayers, to operate under the new gun laws this year," said Genesee County Clerk Don Read.  

“Never in my experience have I seen such a terrible law as the NYSAFE Act. A law that local and county governments, and law enforcement professionals from all across New York State have expressed opposition. On behalf of the members of SCOPE and the citizens of New York, I join Senator Ranzenhofer in calling for the repeal of this overreaching law, and for an investigation into the allegations of State Police unwarranted intrusions into New Yorkers private medical records,” said New York State SCOPE President Stephen Aldstadt.

"As the Chairperson of the Genesee County SCOPE Chapter, I represent a very concerned and frustrated group of law-abiding citizens. We are fortunate to have Senator Ranzenhofer representing us in Albany and supporting our endeavors to repeal the NYSAFE Act. We will continue to be diligent until the law is repealed," said Genesee County SCOPE Chapter Chairman Bill Fox.

Senator Ranzenhofer voted against the NYSAFE Act. 

The 61st Senate District encompasses: the Towns of Amherst, Clarence, and Newstead and the Villages of Akron and Williamsville in Erie County; all of Genesee County; and the Towns of Chili and Riga, the Village of Churchville and part of the City of Rochester in Monroe County.

March 27, 2013 - 11:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer.

Press release:

The New York State Senate has completed passage of the 2013-14 State Budget. State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R, C, I – Amherst) has issued the following statement:

“The State Senate has finished passage of an early State Budget for the third year in a row – a first in over 30 years. The 2013-14 State Budget is a balanced, fiscally responsible plan that closes a billion dollar budget gap without tax increases.

For middle-class families, the budget provides over $1 billion in tax relief over three years to make up for the value of child tax credits eroded by inflation and ensures the continuation of the lowest personal income tax rates in 60 years.

For senior citizens, the budget fully funds the EPIC prescription drug program, providing 270,000 seniors with help in affording their prescription drugs, and delivers $912 million in property tax relief to senior homeowners as part of the Enhanced STAR program.

For every person with a utility bill – both residents and businesses – the budget will phase out the energy tax surcharge over three years, rejecting the Executive Budget proposal to extend the tax for five more years.   

Under the fiscal plan, businesses will be in a better position than last year to grow our economy and create jobs. In addition to relief from the phase out of the energy tax surcharge, the budget saves businesses almost $1 billion by reforming workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance programs. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses and manufacturers will get a reduction in taxes, too.

While I am disappointed that tax relief – for small businesses, homeowners, seniors, and middle-class families – couldn’t be greater, the budget continues to move our State in the right direction by easing the tax burden for all Western New Yorkers.”

March 26, 2013 - 9:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer, infrastructure.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced that the 2013-14 State Budget will increase funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), providing more than $275,000 in additional funding for infrastructure projects in Genesee County.

“For the first time in five years, more funding for local road and bridge repair projects will go directly to towns, cities and villages in Genesee County. Maintaining and improving our infrastructure is so important to our economy, while keeping drivers and their passengers safe,” Senator Ranzenhofer said.

In total, Genesee County will receive $1,674,921.93 in CHIPS funding, an increase of more than $275,581. The following is a breakdown of CHIPS funding by city, town and village:

Earlier this month, Senator Ranzenhofer joined his colleagues in a letter to the Governor and Legislative leaders, requesting an increase of at least $100 million for CHIPS funding. CHIPS funding is included in the Article VII Budget Bill for Transportation, Economic Development, and Environment. The State Senate passed the Article VII for the 2013-14 State Budget on Sunday.

The State Legislature started the CHIPS program in 1981. The CHIPS program provides funding for the repair of highways, bridges and roads operated by local governments.

The 61st Senate District encompasses: the towns of Amherst, Clarence, and Newstead and the villages of Akron and Williamsville in Erie County; all of Genesee County; and the towns of Chili and Riga, the Village of Churchville and part of the City of Rochester in Monroe County.

September 21, 2012 - 11:09am

Genesee County lawyers gathered for a photo shoot on the Old Courthouse steps Thursday. This was to conclude the ceremony celebrating the Genesee County Bar Association's 100th Anniversary.

In attendance were Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (who joined the lawyers in the photo), Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, Genesee County Legislature Chairperson Mary Pat Hancock and professionals from the justice system at the state level.

Hawley and Ranzenhofer presented the proclamation to GCBA President Durin B. Rogers (middle).

Here are some closer views of the lawyers who attended:

For more information on GCBA, visit their Web site: www.gcbany.com.

June 7, 2012 - 5:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, Mike Ranzenhofer, STAMP.

Dignitaries from throughout the county were at the Upstate Med-Tech Center today for the official announcement of $2 million in funding for the STAMP project in Alabama.

The project, if successful, is expected to produce thousands of jobs and the round of funding will help pay for grading and infrastructure improvements for a portion of 1,300 acres targeted for development.

"The investment we’re making today will make STAMP a shovel-ready, high-tech industrial megasite," said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (top photo), who traveled to Batavia today for the announcement. "Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Capitol Region communities are already attracting high-tech companies and high-paying jobs."

STAMP is intended to attract high-tech/clean-tech and nano-enabled manufacturing and Genesee Economic Development Center CEO Steve Hyde (top inset photo) projects an eventual 10,000 jobs at the site, with support and supply chain jobs from Buffalo to Rochester adding another 20,000 positions.

STAMP is most often compared to Luther Forest in Saratoga. According to GCEDC, Luther Forest, in the past five years, has seen $1.5 billion in private investment, and more than 2,000 jobs created.

"Once we bring that site to what we call ‘shovel-ready light’ we will be ready to market the project to some of the largest semi-conductor manufacturers in the world," Hyde said.

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer (second inset photo) thanked Skelos for helping secure the funding for STAMP and said the project has the potential to transform the region.

"This is really critical funding that will keep the project going and keep it on track," Ranzenhofer said. "We’re a step closer today than we were previously to making sure we develop scientific and technological manufacturing jobs in the future here in Genesee County. I’d rather see them developed right here between Rochester and Buffalo than in another state or another country."

Following the announcement, Skelos and Ranzenhofer met with local and regional media and discussed a variety of issues.

On Cuomo's plan to decriminalize possession of personal use marijuana, both Skelos and Ranzenhofer are adamantly opposed to the measure.

"When you talk to lot of drug counselors, they tell you marijuana leads to a lot of other kinds of addictions with heavier drugs," Skelos said. 

He added, "I don’t believe in legalizing drugs that the federal government has said are destructive to lives."

Ranzenofer said he's following the lead of GCASA in opposing decriminalizing possession.

"They felt strongly that this type of thing is a gateway drug for the very kind of people they’re trying to treat in our communities," Ranzenhofer said. "The experts in our community don’t believe that it is proper legislation and I’ll certainly defer to the experts in our community."

Even though polls show most New Yorkers support losing marijuana laws, Skelos said "the voters in my district on Long Island are not knocking down the door saying legalize marijuana."

On the ethics complaint against Sen. Ranzenhofer: Skelos said he has not received a copy of the complaint filed by Michelle McCulloch, even though it was sent to his office by registered mail. Ranzenhofer said he also has not yet seen it. 

Skelos called the firing of McCulloch, a mother of four children, a "personnel change." He said, "We all make personnel changes in our lives. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it."

Asked about his statement to a Buffalo TV station that McCulloch "knows why she was fired," even though he's said he wouldn't discuss a personnel matter, Ranzenhofer wouldn't comment further, except to say, "It wasn't for political activity."

He also said he's never directed anybody to gather signatures or petitions for Chris Collins, who is running in the NY-27 GOP primary against David Bellavia.

"People have volunteered for the past 50 years," Ranzenhofer said. "I've never directed anybody to do that."

On mandate relief for counties, particularly Medicaid: Skelos said the state simply can't afford to pick up its share of Medicaid costs.

He said NYS has already provided relief to counties, first by capping annual increases at 3 percent, then by agreeing to phase out the local mandate increase.

Counties promised each time not to ask for more help with Medicaid, Skelos said.

"They should be reminded that just a couple of years ago they said, ‘we’re fine,’ we’ll never need to come back again," Skelos said.

Skelos said reporters should ask federal elected officials why some states get 80-percent reimbursement for Medicaid while New York gets only 50 percent.

The Batavian happened to already have an interview scheduled with Rep. Kathy Hochul for this afternoon and we asked Hochul that question.

Hochul said that as a former town board member and former county clerk, she certainly understands the need for mandate relief, but the reason New York doesn't get more help from the federal government is the state has instituted a number of services and programs within Medicaid that are not required. Those additional programs drive up the costs for both the state and counties.

On another unfunded mandate issue, Skelos did agree that if proposed creation of a youth court division in NY's counties goes through, the state should pay for the additional cost. Officials estimate the new court will cost more than $1 million in Genesee County.

On efforts to increase the state's minimum wage, Skelos said he remains opposed to the idea.

"My concern is that if we raise the minimum wage with the fragile economy we have, there would actually be a loss of jobs," Skelos said. "Fifty percent of the people earning minimum wage are young people, age 16 to 24, and the last time we raised the minimum wage, 22 percent of them lost their jobs."

Professor Mike Jackson, RIT, presented officials with framed, commemorative computer chips.

May 30, 2012 - 9:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in economy, jobs, Mike Ranzenhofer.

Press release:

With the State Budget now passed, jump starting New York's economy and getting people back to work are at the top of the to-do list. That’s why I voted for legislation today in the State Senate to implement the 2012 NEW JOBS-NY Job Creation Plan.

Every new job created helps the state’s economy, helps strengthen a community, and most importantly, helps a family improve its quality of life.  This comprehensive plan will help create thousands of new private sector jobs by delivering tax relief and reducing energy costs for small businesses and manufacturers.

Among the highlights of the 2012 NEW JOBS-NY Job Creation Plan are:

  • HIRE-NOW-NY Tax Incentive: New job-creating incentives to grant businesses a tax credit of up to $5,000 for each new job created; up to an $8,000 credit if the new job goes to someone on unemployment; up to a $10,000 credit if a business hires a returning military veteran.
  • 10 % Personal Income Tax Credit for Small Businesses: This tax cut would save 800,000 small businesses $80 million.
  • 20 % Corporate Tax Cut for Small Businesses: This cut in the corporate tax rate will save nearly 200,000 small businesses $49 million.
  • Reducing the Job-Killing Tax Burden on New York Manufacturers: The plan would spur creation of thousands of manufacturing jobs by dramatically reducing taxes on manufacturers over a three year period ($495 million in tax relief).

Over the last two years, we’ve enacted two fiscally responsible State Budgets that reduced spending, excluded any new taxes or fees, and enacted billions of dollars in tax cuts. The 2012 NEW JOBS-NY Job Creation Plan will build on this progress, create thousands of new jobs and help to ensure a brighter, stronger future for the Empire State.

March 2, 2012 - 8:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer, STAR Rebate.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced that the Senate Aging Committee voted Senate Bill No. S6286 out of committee today. The legislation, written by Senator Ranzenhofer, would reinstate the STAR rebate check program for seniors.

“Senate Bill No. S6286, restoring the STAR rebate check for seniors, is on the move after being introduced in the State Senate earlier this session. I am pleased to report that this legislation has received approval from the Aging Committee, clearing the first hurdle in the legislative process. As this bill continues on, I will be working with my colleagues in the State Senate to ensure its passage,” Ranzenhofer said.

Under the proposed bill, seniors who qualify for the Senior STAR exemption would be eligible for a STAR rebate check. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

“Seniors continue to face rising property taxes while living on a fixed income, making it difficult for them to afford the increased costs of staying in their homes. Owning and living in your own home is a major part of the American dream for seniors and eliminating the STAR rebate check program in the State Budget almost three years ago didn’t make it any easier. This legislation would ease that burden by reinstating property tax relief which was done away with,” Ranzenhofer said.

Initiated in 2006, the STAR rebate check program was eliminated in the 2009-2010 State Budget. Senator Ranzenhofer is also the author of legislation, Senate Bill No. S4338, to reinstate the Middle Class STAR rebate check program.

February 2, 2012 - 3:23pm
posted by Geoff Redick in Mike Ranzenhofer, New York State Senate.

Calling it “the fingerprint of the 21st Century,” Senator Mike Ranzenhofer and local law enforcement leaders met today to endorse the “All Crimes DNA Bill,” which has just passed the New York State Senate and is now before the Assembly.

The bill (S5560A) would require anyone convicted of any felony or misdemeanor crime in New York State to submit their DNA to the state’s DNA databank, by way of a mouth swab. The move is expected to add more than 46,000 DNA samples to the state database every year.

“This is very helpful in solving crimes; and on the other hand, it’s also very helpful to exonerate the innocent,” said Ranzenhofer, who voted in favor of the bill just three days ago.

Currently, the state’s criminal DNA submittal bill applies to all felonies, but only to 36 misdemeanors – what can be described in layman’s terms as the more violent, harmful, or prohibitive misdemeanor crimes on the books. Crimes on the current list include third-degree assault, criminal obstruction of breathing, third-degree sexual abuse, and petit larceny, to name only a few.

Under the proposed new law, all convicted misdemeanors would require the DNA contribution – including such crimes as fortune-telling, false advertising, and jostling.

But when asked if he perceived the proposed new law as an infringement upon personal rights, District Attorney Lawrence Friedman was steadfast.

“We’ve been taking people’s fingerprints upon arrest forever,” Friedman said. “This is really, I would suggest, no different…there’s no evidence of any real ‘violation’ that’s ever come up.”

“The person only submits the DNA sample upon conviction,” added Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha, “…so even if you’re arrested, you’re not going to submit a DNA sample.”

Friedman recalled a recent residential burglary case in Genesee County (he did not name the defendant) in which the only evidence left behind was some spots of blood. Through DNA collected after previous convictions, lawmen were able to track down and arrest the suspect. The defendant later pleaded guilty, and is currently imprisoned.

“As far as we’re concerned, there is no downside to this,” Friedman said. “It’s a great system.”

Ranzenhofer, Maha and Friedman each publicly called for the Assembly to pass the bill immediately.

January 31, 2012 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, Alabama, Mike Ranzenhofer, STAMP.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has written to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, requesting his continued support in the form of a $9 million investment in the STAMP project for each of the next two years to bring the project to Shovel-Ready-Lite status.

“Support is now needed in the form of a funding commitment to complete the process needed to bring this site to Shovel-Ready-Lite status. Over the next several years, this is anticipated to require funding of $20 million. The 2011-12 SFY Budget has already committed $2 million to this project,” Senator Ranzenhofer said.

“A commitment for an additional $9 million per year over the next two fiscal years to assure timely Shovel-Ready-Lite status will allow immediate marketing of the STAMP site to national and international tech companies to expedite the successful build out of this project.”

The STAMP project has the potential to create up to 10,000 high-paying jobs at full development, in addition to jobs created during construction and development of the site, and up to $2.5 billion in private investment. In the letter to Governor Cuomo, Senator Ranzenhofer also noted the possible economic benefits to residents beyond the Buffalo and Rochester regions.

“This project, with its offer of advanced manufacturing, is the only one of its kind in Western New York. In fact, we believe that it is the only remaining available Mega-site in New York State. It provides the legitimate promise of a significant private investment and thousands of desperately needed high-paying jobs for the residents of the Buffalo and Rochester areas as well as all the residents of the region including Erie, Monroe, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans, Livingston and Wyoming counties.”

Senator Ranzenhofer forwarded copies of the letter to Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, Genesee County Legislature Chair Mary Pat Hancock, Empire State Development Corporation President and CEO Kenneth Adams and Genesee County Economic Development Center President and CEO Steve Hyde.

The Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) is a 1,243 acre mega-site modeled after the Albany area’s Luther Forest development. Located in the Town of Alabama, the site is strategically ideal due to its access to three high-level electric transmission circuits, close proximity to the Empire pipeline – a 24-inch natural gas line– and only five miles distance from the New York State Thruway.

January 5, 2012 - 10:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, New York state, Mike Ranzenhofer.

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.”

November 17, 2011 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in schools, education, Mike Ranzenhofer.

At the invitation of Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, Sen. John Flanagan was in Genesee County on Thursday to meet with local education leaders to discuss school funding.

In a press briefing after the meeting at Genesee Community College, Ranzenhofer and Flanagan said the focus of the discussion was on the inequality of state aid among districts statewide.

"Our obligation is to find some plan that is equitable," said Flanagan, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. "I will tell you flat out that coming here, working with Senator Ranzenhofer regularly, even before coming here, you get a much clearer picture about the stark realities in this area."

The lack of equitable funding often means that Upstate and rural school districts are not able to offer some of the programs that help lead to admission into better colleges.

"There is a growing divide between the haves and have-nots," said Michael Glover, district superintendent for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership. "We've actually watched our schools and the kids who attend them fall further and further behind."

Flanagan said one of the goals coming out of meetings such as today's is to craft a budget plan to present to the governor.

"Hopefully, we can get him on board early in the process," Flanagan said.

October 20, 2011 - 8:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, agriculture, Mike Ranzenhofer.

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer is using his time away from Albany -- the legislature is out of session -- to meet constituents and visit local businesses.

Today, Ranzenhofer did an ag tour in Genesee County, visiting Kreher’s Organic Egg Farm in Basom, Torry Farms in Elba and Offhaus Farms in Batavia.

Above, Gordy Offhaus talks with Ranzenhofer about dairy cattle.

August 4, 2011 - 2:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, GCC, Mike Ranzenhofer.

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer met with a group of business leaders at GCC this morning to provide an update on the recently completed legislative session in Albany and get feedback on issues of concern to local business.

Ranzenhofer opened with a talk highlighting the on-time budget that closed a $10 billion deficit with no tax increases and the first reduction in state spending in 15 years.

When the discussion opened, participants raised issues about the number of school districts in Genesee County, tourism grants, as well as Albany's seemingly less hostile attitude toward business and services provided by local government.

Jim Fulmer, CEO of the Bank of Castile and a former Le Roy School Board trustee, expressed concern about duplicative administrative services in the county's nine school districts.

"At some point, somebody will need to absolutely need to take a hold of this issue and deal with it," Fulmer said. "This has the potential to make some fundamental change in our tax structure."

Ranzenhofer said the governor and Senate are absolutely committed to making such fundamental changes in the structure of local governance.

Jeff Boshart, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce board and president of Boshart Enterprises, asked whether the state would continue to fund grants for promotion of tourism in the county, which he said is essential to attracting visitors from all over the region.

A year ago, when the grants were not funded, Ranzenhofer said it wasn't because the money wasn't available, rather it was spent on other priorities, adding, "priorities I didn't vote for or support."

He said the money would continue to be available so long as the legislature made it a priority.

In a statement that seemed to allude to the recent controversy in Le Roy over the fate of that community's public pool, Jerry McCullough (pictured, inset), representing the Le Roy Business Council, the Rotary Club and his own business, expressed concern about local governments using the recently approved property tax cap as an excuse to cut services.

"They're hiding behind the tax cap and cutting things that young families would enjoy," McCullough said. "They're cutting things that would bring young families to our community and help our business community. We're left with a lot of nothing and it's still costing us the same amount of money."

Ranzenhofer said as a person who owns a business located in a village, he understands the importance of village services that improve the business environment.

"I’ve seen first hand what a beautification project will do, what a sidewalk project will do, what a facade project will do, what a light project will do," the senator said. "I think these projects help improve the business climate."

Whether state grants are made available to help with such projects, Ranzenhofer said, depends on what priorities the governor and legislature set in future budgets.

Also attending were: Craig Alexander, O-AT-KA Milk; Allan Davis, Liberty Pumps; Jerry Kozowski, BEST Center; Rachael Tabelski (formerly Millspaugh), GCEDC; Steve Hyde, GCEDC; and Katie White, Le Roy Business Council.

June 25, 2011 - 7:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in taxes, steve hawley, Mike Ranzenhofer.

From Assemblyman Steve Hawley: 

The passage of a property tax cap is the culmination of years of hard work from both New York taxpayers and the Assembly Minority Conference who have never wavered in their support of protecting this state’s families and businesses. No longer will Western New Yorkers, facing some of the highest property taxes in the nation, be prevented from obtaining the American Dream of owning their own home.

No longer will upstate businesses be forced out of our community, which has led to massive job loss and unemployment. Today is a new day in New York – a day that we finally say to our family and businesses, “You are welcome here.”

However, the victory in our long battle for this tax cap must also highlight the need to expand mandate relief. Our homeowners and businesses are not the only ones that suffer from Albany’s spending addiction, our local governments and school districts are struggling to cope with these issues as well. The measures we have taken to reduce the crushing burden on localities is not the end of a journey, but rather a first step toward the true, sweeping reforms it will take to repeal the onerous cost drivers that Albany has passed onto local governments.

We have opened the door for real, substantive mandate relief, but we haven’t done enough. I pledge to continue working tirelessly to ease the burden on local governments and school districts so that they can provide the vital services that our communities rely on without increasing costs to the taxpayer. I am confident that the accomplishments made today will serve as a springboard for even more success in the future.

From Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer:

“The State Senate passed historic legislation last night to make New York the 44th state to cap property taxes.  A cap will stop property taxes from spiraling out of control and prevent homeowners from being taxed out of their homes. But in order for the cap to work, mandate relief will be needed.”

“That is why the State Senate also took the first steps to begin to provide $127 million in much needed mandate relief for school districts and municipalities. The act also sets up a Mandate Relief Council to establish a procedure to repeal unfunded mandates.”

“There is still much work to be done on mandate relief, including relieving counties of burdensome Medicaid and pension payments and school districts of onerous and duplicative audits.  As the year progresses, I will work with the Governor, and my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly, to not just take first steps, but to make giant leaps towards achieving additional mandate relief.”

May 26, 2011 - 8:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, Mike Ranzenhofer, Gary Draper.

Youngsters who get arrested for underage drinking or unlawful possession of marijuana may want to be careful about skipping court dates in the future.

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer and Darien Town Justice Gary Graber were in Batavia today to announce the state Senate approval of a new law that would suspend the driving privileges of any person who fails to appear in court for those charges.

Graber called the current laws unenforceable because there has been no penalty for skipping court appearances. 

Because convictions for the infractions of underage drinking or unlawful possession of marijuana never include jail time, judges and justices are unable to issue warrants when a suspect doesn't appear in court.

"(The current law) encourages a lack of respect for the courts and the law and weakens the educational purposes of these laws to strongly discourage underage drinking and marijuana possession,” Ranzenhofer said. “This legislation will now give judges a remedy to the loopholes in the current law to enforce the sanctions of the court."

Graber, of course, sits in a court just down the road from Darien Lake Theme Park where, during the concert season, local law enforcement issues many citations for underage drinking and UPM.

Justices from throughout New York have been seeking a change in the law for years, Graber said.

Full press release after the jump:

May 13, 2011 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Mike Ranzenhofer, Richmond Memorial Libary.

Press release:

New York State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced that Richmond Memorial Library will receive $3,500 in funding from the Public Library Construction Grant Program for a replacement window in the Children’s Room. 

“This grant will serve as a reinvestment in Richmond Memorial Library in the City of Batavia and will ultimately allow existing patrons and future generations to enjoy all the services the library has to offer,” Senator Ranzenhofer said.

The grant funds are from $14 million in capital funds for public library construction provided in the 2010 State Budget. Grants can pay up to a maximum of 50 percent of total eligible project costs and libraries must provide funds to pay for the remaining costs of the project. 

New York’s public libraries are in need of renovation and upgrading. A recent survey showed a documented need for public library construction and renovation projects totaling more than $2.5 billion. More than 40 percent of the public library buildings in communities across New York are over 60 years old. Many of New York’s local public libraries are unable to accommodate users with disabilities, are energy inefficient, cannot provide internet and computer and other electronic technologies to users because of outdated and inadequate electrical wiring. 

Project activities and expenditures eligible for grants from the $14 million Public Library Construction Grant Program include the renovation and/or rehabilitation of existing space, including roof replacement, purchase and installation of alternative energy resources and new HVAC systems, windows, doors, and lighting systems, electrical upgrades, and construction of new or replacement of old walkways and parking lots.

January 24, 2011 - 6:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCEDC, Mike Ranzenhofer.

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer is once again supporting legislation that would prohibit staff members of public authorities -- such as the Power Authority and the Genesee Economic Development Center -- from receiving bonus payments as part of their compensation.

Ranzenhofer said he plans to support legislation introduced again this session by Sen. George D. Maziarz that would ban the sort of bonus payments that recently came under scrutiny by the Authorities Budget Office.

"In the private sector, such bonuses may be appropriate," Ranzenhofer said, "but in the public sector it is not appropriate. The more appropriate way to do things is if someone is doing a good job, then you want to adjust their salary. If they're doing a poor job, then you adjust their salary."

GCEDC's board, according to the ABO report, has paid out more than $344,000 in bonuses to employees since 2004.

Jim Vincent, vice chairman of the GCEDC board of directors, insisted after the report came out that the board "has done nothing wrong." He said employee compensation has been based on performance and within legal guidelines.

Ranzenhofer said he has no issue with the job GCEDC has done and believes the agency has created jobs and done a good job representing Genesee County, he just thinks staff members shouldn't receive bonuses.

Also, at a reader request, we confirmed today that GCEDC staff are eligible to participation in the New York State retirement system. We have a request into GCEDC for details on contributions for employees but have no response yet.

County Manager Jay Gsell said employee payments for the pension fund come from GCEDC independent revenues and not from the county contribution to GCEDC. He said the county's contribution covers 42 percent of base wages for agency personnel.

Previously:

January 12, 2011 - 4:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in politics, Mike Ranzenhofer.

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer announced today that he will serve as chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions.

Senator Ranzenhofer will also serve on the Banks, Judiciary, Agriculture, Education, Energy, and Racing, Gaming and Wagering committees.

He says he is eager to begin working to reduce state spending and restore trust in state government as chairman of the Corporations Committee.

"State government is so big that residents can no longer afford it and New York’s many authorities and commissions are part of the problem" Ranzenhofer said in a news release. "I plan to find ways to reduce and streamline the number of different authorities and commissions – so that New Yorkers may finally see savings in state government. Over the past few years, there have been too many examples of mismanagement among the state’s authorities and commissions.

"For too long, New Yorkers have become accustomed to a government which is dysfunctional and driven toward political patronage. As chairman, I will work to restore integrity and a higher level of professionalism to our State authorities and commissions.”

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said: “New York faces an enormous challenge as we work to reform state government, make it smaller and more efficient and, most importantly, cost less for taxpayers.

"Senator Mike Ranzenhofer is a very strong advocate for easing the burden on state taxpayers by making government cost less and work better. As chair of the Senate Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, he will have a leading role in how we achieve that goal."

Ranzenhofer said he's pleased to serve again as a member of the Agriculture Committee.

"During last year’s legislative session, I worked with local farms to defeat the farm labor 'death legislation,'" the senator said. "I look forward to continuing a partnership with the Farm Bureau and local family farms to preserve the next generation of agri-business in Genesee County."

The 61st District includes part of the City of Tonawanda, the towns of Amherst, Clarence, Newstead and Tonawanda in Erie County and all of Genesee County.

July 30, 2010 - 5:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, Le Roy, Mike Ranzenhofer.
Event Date and Time: 
August 7, 2010 - 10:00am to 12:00pm

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced a free Car Seat Safety Check from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 7 at Wolcott Street School, 2-6 Trigon Park in Le Roy.
 
“Every parent knows that installing a car seat can be difficult," Ranzenhofer said. "This event will give parents information on how to properly install car seats as well as ensure the car seat they have is safely secured."

The program is free and open to the public. No appointment or RSVP is necessary. Water and soda pop will be served.

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