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Hawley criticizes cuts in the state budget, releases statement

By Press Release

Press Release:

File photo of
Steve Hawley.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C-Batavia) attended a press conference yesterday to address the governor’s decision not to “Hold Harmless” school district regarding foundation aid in the state budget. 

Gov. Hochul released her state budget proposal early last week and did not keep her promise to local school districts that they would not see a decrease in their foundation aid funding from the previous year. 

This comes as the state has put more regulations on school districts such as last year’s mandate requiring all school buses to be electric by 2035. Hawley is frustrated that upstate rural and suburban school districts will not receive the funding they need.

“Gov. Hochul is at it again,” said Hawley. “It’s ridiculous our schools should have to take a back seat while the governor continues to hinder them with less funding and more regulations. The governor should remember her promise to ensure foundation aid for local school districts would not decrease and give them the resources they need. I cannot and will not vote for any state budget that does not put the education of our children first.”

NYS Senate Republican Conference unveils a 'New Hope for Empire State'

By Press Release

Press Release:

The New York State Senate Republican Conference has unveiled “A New Hope For The Empire State,” their legislative agenda for 2024. The agenda prioritizes the issues that affect everyday New Yorkers, but have been neglected by the radical left politicians who control Albany.

Extreme policies pursued under one-party rule have directly caused a decline in New Yorkers’ quality of life. Over the course of the past several years, we’ve seen destructive policies passed by radical Democrats that have pushed New York to its brink.

Sanctuary state policies have only increased the inflow of migrants, impacting local government services to the detriment of residents who already live here. The recent rise in antisemitic rhetoric coming from DSA radicals at all levels of government has stoked divisions within our communities. Places of higher learning have become breeding grounds for the antisemitic bullying we see occurring on college campuses throughout the country. Throughout the holiday season, we witnessed protests disrupting the Thanksgiving Day parade, the New York City tree lighting, the New Year's Eve ball drop, travel at airports, and more.

Our law enforcement community has its hands tied because of policies that prioritize criminals. The complete disregard for society is flat-out appalling. We need sound-minded people and a sound-minded plan to bring New York back to what it once was.

“New Yorkers are deeply dissatisfied with the direction of our state and our Conference is here to provide an alternative path forward. I have traveled throughout the state and people are tired, frustrated, and angry. They feel forgotten. Over the course of the year, we have seen crimes and costs rise. Antisemitism is infiltrating our schools and communities and has become the norm. The migrant crisis has only gotten worse because New York City politicians continue to push their feel-good policies, but it is these radical policies that are driving New Yorkers out. As the Leader of this conference, I will not take a back seat to the progressive agenda destroying our state. Our Republican Conference will fight to give hope to those New Yorkers who feel they have no alternative but to leave our state. Our common sense agenda provides solutions to build a greater New York for future generations,” said Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt.

“Ask any New Yorker, and they will tell you their quality of life has deteriorated over the last few years because of leftist policies enacted by New York Democrats. Their policies are so out of touch with reality that New Yorkers from every region are fleeing to other states that are safer, affordable, and free.  Our policy agenda will reverse this downward spiral and bring common sense to New York’s government and put it back in the hands of our citizens where it belongs,” said Senate Deputy Republican Leader Andrew Lanza.

“New Yorkers are all longing for accountability from our state government and searching for signs of hope that things will get better. Antisemitism, in particular, is running rampant not only on our streets but also on our college campuses. Now more than ever, we owe it to our Jewish communities to ensure their safety. The lack of affordability and public safety continue to be problems impacting taxpayers, and it is because of these significant quality-of-life issues that New Yorkers feel forced to flee to other states. Our conference stands ready to advance an agenda that will bring our state back from the disaster that extreme policymaking has wrought upon us,” said Senator Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick, SD 9th.

“Since 2020, more people have left New York than live in Vermont. People are leaving because they’re tired and fed up with the direction our state is going. In poll after poll, people are telling us that there's too much crime and that it's too expensive to live here. The governor is ignoring these serious concerns and continues to push an agenda that’s out of step with the priorities of middle class families across the state. Our Senate Republican agenda is solely focused on solving quality of life problems because we hear you and we work for you. It's that simple,” said Senator Jake Ashby, SD 43rd.

“A New Hope For The Empire State” is a comprehensive legislative agenda for 2024 outlining a plan to fight for New Yorkers who are tired of the radical left legislature controlling Albany. This agenda prioritizes increasing affordability, improves public safety, and builds a greater New York:

Increasing Affordability

  • Reigning in out-of-control spending: enact a spending cap, rejecting tax increases and unfunded mandates, and providing tax relief for all New Yorkers;
  • Taking action to help all New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet by rejecting extreme climate proposals, incentivizing new housing construction to deal with the housing shortage, and making child care more accessible and affordable; and
  • Improving the state’s business climate by protecting small businesses and farms by reducing regulations and unfair costs.

Improving Public Safety

Protecting New Yorkers from antisemitism and other hateful violence by making any antisemitic behavior a hate crime, making all hate crimes bail eligible, protecting hate crime victims and houses of worship, and implementing financial penalties on both college universities and students who condone or engage in antisemitic behavior while receiving state aid;

  • Rejecting efforts to continue New York's sanctuary state status;
  • Reversing failed criminal justice policies that have made our communities less safe, including bail reform, discovery reform, and others;
  • Rejecting policies that put criminals above victims and law-abiding New Yorkers; and
  • Providing more services and funding to address mental health crises and substance abuse disorders.

Building a Greater New York

  • Closing the pandemic learning gap,  expanding school choice, and further investing in vocational education and workforce development;
  • Providing support to our veterans to reacclimate and find educational and career opportunities; and
  • Investing in and strengthening our infrastructure to encourage growth.  

“It is clear New Yorkers are unhappy. Our plan offers a vision to correct that and bring New York back as a desirable place to live. As we head into a new legislative session, we will outline common-sense solutions to address these issues and improve the quality of life of every New Yorker,” concluded Senator Ortt.

More details of the New York State Senate Republicans’ “A New Hope for the Empire State” 2024 legislative agenda will be unveiled in the coming weeks. The full report is attached or available here.

“It seems that New York Democrats have adopted a strategy of ignoring the chaos and crime their radical policies have created in the hope they can convince state residents that life in the Empire State under their rule is just fine. But, like all of their strategies, it’s failing miserably. New Yorkers are painfully aware that affordability, public safety and accountability have all worsened under Democrat one-party rule. That is why hard-working, productive New Yorkers are fleeing our state in record numbers. Our plan offers practical, achievable solutions for improving all of these issues and reversing the damage of the past five years. It needs to be enacted before it’s too late,” said Senator George Borrello, SD 57th.

“As more and more people flee our state, it is clear that policies adopted under one party control are not working. We must place a greater emphasis on making our state more affordable and attractive for residents and businesses by controlling spending and rejecting tax increases. We must also re-examine recent changes to our criminal justice system which have taken discretion away from judges and put the rights of criminals above the rights of law abiding citizens. New Yorkers deserve and demand better,” said Senator Patrick Gallivan, SD 60th.

“One-party control has resulted in many misguided and out-of-touch policies that have had a detrimental effect on our state and forced many New Yorkers to flee for better opportunities elsewhere. We have seen criminals and illegal migrants prioritized over law-abiding citizens while burdensome taxes, mandates and regulations continue to crush families, businesses and communities. A change in direction and a different approach is needed, as I have continued to advocate. Our plan will provide a new hope for New Yorkers and offers sensible solutions that will make New York more affordable, provide for greater economic opportunity, improve public safety and build a stronger, better and more prosperous state,” said Senator Joseph Griffo, SD 53rd.

“Affordability and public safety continue to be the top two priorities and concerns my constituents share with me. They are asking us to make it safer and more affordable to live and do business in New York State. I have put forth proposals to tackle these issues and will continue to fight against policies and mandates that crush our families, farmers, small businesses, and local communities,” said Senator Pam Helming, Chair of the Republican Conference, SD 54th.

“Whether it’s punishing commuters with congestion pricing, a smash and grab shoplifting epidemic, thousands of illegal immigrants flooding our streets or out of control spend and tax policies, it’s clear one-party rule in Albany is devastating New York. Every special interest group seems to have more of a voice than the hard-working taxpayers of our great state. This plan is our pledge to restore our voices and bring common sense back to our state. Let’s get it done,” said Senator Jack Martins, Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference, SD 7th.

“From enacting a senseless gas ban to weakening public safety to allowing uncontrolled migration, one-party rule is clearly failing and forcing our residents to decide if they are able to raise their families here.  Our plan will bring common sense back to our state and show all who live and work here that New York can and must do better.  We owe it to those who elected us to do all we can to enhance their lives and to work together to accomplish that goal,” said Senator Mario R. Mattera, SD 2nd.

“There’s no time to waste, we are losing family and friends on a daily basis as more and more New Yorker’s are fleeing this one-party rule and their radical policies. We must pass common sense legislation like “A New Hope for the Empire State” legislative agenda for 2024, to once again make New York affordable, safe, and a place where we can thrive,” said Senator Dean Murray, SD 3rd.

“Every day I hear from constituents who tell me they are packing their bags and leaving New York, it is a trend that we must halt.  The time is now to reverse the damage done over the last several years thanks to one party rule in Albany and deliver crucial changes that people deserve.  Government needs to be accountable to real concerns and our 2024 agenda meets that fundamental demand,” said Senator Peter Oberacker, SD 51st.

“We face an affordability crisis.  We face a border crisis.  Law and order is in free fall.  The Albany Democrat direction for New York simply fails to produce any hope for a long-term, sustainable future for communities, families, workers, businesses, industries, and taxpayers.  New York is a state in decline that continues to become less safe, free, affordable, economically competitive, responsible, and far less strong for the future. We are at a dangerous crossroads and we must enact an across-the-board agenda to cut taxes, address affordability, and rebuild stronger and safer communities,” said Senator Tom O’Mara, SD 58th.

“I am proud to stand with my New York State Senate Republicans colleagues to advance a robust agenda that will enhance public safety and address affordability issues impacting the state.  The vast majority of New Yorkers want a return to common sense criminal justice policies that put the needs of law enforcement, crime victims and law-abiding citizens before criminals, and economic policies that provide relief, not additional burdens. 2024 is a new year, and an opportunity to deliver for the hardworking men and women who call the Empire State home,” said Senator Anthony Palumbo, SD 1st.

“There's no greater evidence that New York State is headed in the wrong direction than the fact that more people moved out of New York than any other state in the country. This plan provides the roadmap to put New York State back on the right track; prioritizing public safety, making New York more affordable, and investing in the right priorities. Governor Hochul and the Democrat majorities in the state legislature need to adopt this legislative agenda, because doubling down on the same failed policies will only drive more people out of New York and further deteriorate the quality of life for those who remain,” said Senator Steven Rhoads, SD 5th.

“My Republican colleagues and I are laser-focused on solving problems and cleaning up the mess years of radical, one-party rule created in Albany. Thanks to Albany's extreme policies, the cost-of-living crisis is putting the American Dream out of reach, our communities are less safe, and parents and other local voices are routinely ignored. I'm fighting to change this, starting with a clear-eyed view of New York's real problems and a willingness to apply a common-sense approach to fix them. I'll continue to deliver on these and other goals in 2024,” said Senator Rob Rolison, SD 39th.

“From crime rates to economic stagnation and declining population rates, it’s clear that New York State is heading in the wrong direction. Rather than continue the same unsafe, failing policies, it’s time to pursue a new direction that makes our communities safer and helps grow our economy. I’m proud to join my Senate Republican colleagues in advancing an agenda that would accomplish exactly that,” said Senator Dan Stec, SD 45th.

“There can be no greater example that our beautiful state needs a dramatic course correction than the fact that over 101,000 people escaped from New York last year, leading the nation in out-migration of population, with over 631,000 people leaving the state since the pandemic.  New Yorkers need and deserve a holistic agenda change in state government to stop the hemorrhaging by creating an environment that is conducive to making the Empire State more affordable, safer, and a place that enables opportunities for economic growth and protects people’s quality of life,” said Senator Jim Tedisco, SD 44th.

“If you're trying to find the reason why so many people have fled the state, why New Yorkers don't feel safe and continue to get nickeled and dimed to death, look no further than Albany Democrats.  For the past five years, one-party rule has continuously put the rights of criminals ahead of victims, borrowed on the backs of our grandchildren's grandchildren to pay for record spending in state budgets.  I could go on.  Our plan offers real solutions and a path forward to make New York less expensive and more business-friendly,” said Senator Mark Walczyk, SD 49th.

“My constituents in Rockland County have had it with Albany. The policies and budgets adopted by radical progressives over the past few years are the cause of our current crisis. We need steady and serious leadership to turn this around. That’s why Rockland voters elected me to the Senate, and it is the focus of my efforts," said Senator Bill Weber, SD 38th.

“More and more New Yorkers are fleeing our state to find a safer and more affordable life for their families. Democrats have doubled down on their failed policies of overspending, undermining public safety, and disregarding common sense. The Republican Conference is offering solutions such as making the Property Tax Rebate program permanent and protecting hate crime victims during the discovery process. It is time to hold Democrats accountable for their failure to reconsider ineffective policies,” said Senator Alexis Weik, SD 8th.

Sen. Rath launches legislative survey

By Press Release

Press Release:

Senator Rath has published a legislative survey, asking residents to share their opinions on issues that arose from the 2022 State of the State. The brief 12 question survey is available on the Senator’s website, rath.nysenate.gov

“Countless issues will be in front of the Legislature this year, hearing from residents is crucial.  As we enter the 2022 legislative session, there are a lot of timely issues facing our state and residents.  From COVID vaccine mandates to voting laws, hearing from my constituents has never been more important.  I hope you will take a moment to share your opinions,” said Senator Rath. 

NY Legislative Digest

By C. M. Barons

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/215784/nypirg-session-analysis-or-sabermetrics-for-nys-political-junkies/

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.”

Hawley: Budget good, could be better

By Howard B. Owens

Press Release:

The 2011-12 state budget made a number of positive strides toward the significant reforms New Yorkers have demanded and rightfully deserved. Unfortunately, this spending plan falls short in several key areas, representing a missed opportunity for the Legislature to heed the call of the state’s taxpayers.

Continuing an unacceptable trend, the formula used to determine education aid once again unfairly impacts Western New York’s schoolchildren. Time after time, we see our students shoulder an unfair portion of funding cuts in an effort to support downstate school districts. This budget repeats those mistakes of old that have plagued our children for far too long. Furthermore, this legislation shifts costs for essential services like special education to individual school districts, driving up the cost of local government and, in turn, the cost to the taxpayer.

In addition, this spending plan reduces funding for the judiciary branch but fails to do the same for the Legislature. I believe the Assembly could find efficiencies and cost savings within numerous administrative operations involved with the chamber. State government should not be asking children, families and businesses to tighten their belts if we are not prepared to do so as well.

However, this budget did make a variety of much-needed improvements to the state of affairs in New York. Vital restorations have been made to protect the services that benefit our most vulnerable citizens, such as funding for elderly abuse prevention programs and EPIC prescription drug payments. The appointment of regional Economic Development councils will renew New York’s focus on stimulating our economy with targeted planning, rather than an ill-advised, one-size-fits-all policy. Along with significant reforms to the Medicaid system that will result in savings both now and in the long-term, this budget certainly has its share of positive aspects.

When all is said and done, this budget has taken baby steps in the right direction, rather than a substantial leap forward. I hope that the Legislature can build on the progress we have made here today and continue this momentum toward putting New York on the road to recovery.

PROPERTY TAXES - UNFAIR & PUNITIVE

By C. M. Barons

The cost of local government and schools is the fastest growing taxpayer burden.  That burden is magnified by basing local taxes on real property value.  Property tax is unfair and punitive.  It establishes a recurring, non-transactional fee on ownership.  Taxes should be a measure of prosperity.  Property ownership is an investment not a benchmark of prosperity.  Only 54.4% of New Yorkers own homes.  Property taxes contribute to neighborhood blight when property owners opt against upkeep to avoid increasing taxable value. 

 

In our fragile economic climate with as many as 17.5% unemployed, millions laid-off and New York leading the nation in first-time unemployment claims, local governments cannot ignore the fact: property taxes do not adjust for fixed or reduced incomes. 

 

My solution to New York’s tax burden is to scrap property taxes AND sales tax.  Replace both with a 4% residential flat tax and 3.8% Value Added Tax (VAT) for business.  With a state GSP of $1,144,481,000,000 and personal income at $828,443,000,000, the net result would be over $74 billion in tax revenue.  With renters direct-paying local taxes, rent bills that include the cost of property tax must be adjusted.  To encourage landlords to reduce rent bills, a Rent Adjustment Credit for landlords who lower rent in lieu of property tax will be built into Form IT-214, Claim for Real Property Tax Credit for Homeowners and Renters.

 

Value Added Tax is misunderstood by many.  Essentially it taxes profits on products or services.   Example: a sump pump company buys castings at $5.00 apiece, tools and assembles them as a sump pump at a cost of $15.00.  The finished pump is sold to a retailer for $40.00.  The value added is $20.00 which is taxable.  The retailer sells the pump to a customer for $80.00.  The value added is $40.00 which is taxable.  In the case of service providers, the cost of sending a cleaner to a business for 8 hours is $60.00.  The cleaning company charges the business $75.00.  The value added is $15.00 which is taxable.  For financial institutions, the banks pay a VAT on disposal of mortgaged securities, investment and financial services.

 

The elimination of property based taxation would benefit especially farmers- for whom land ownership is a critical investment.   Besides alleviating the unfair burden placed upon taxpayers, eliminating property taxes would jettison the bureaucracy necessary to administer it.  A 4% residential tax and 3.8% commercial VAT would also generate sufficient revenue to accelerate satisfaction of New York State’s overwhelming debt.

Cuomo Addresses Democrat Rural Conference, Niagara Falls NY

By Bea McManis

Genesee County was well represented at the Friday night session of the Democrat Rural Conference in Niagara Falls with 12 members attending. 

Andrew Cuomo sparked a gread deal of interest and let the Rural Conference know how much he appreciated their continued support. 

“My friends, the job is not done. I believe this upcoming election is the most important for the state of New York in my lifetime, in my 52 years. And my friends, this state is at a crossroads, and I believe depending on what we do now this state will go up or this state will go down. And I’ll tell you what, this state is in drastic need of reform today,”

“The first thing we have to do is get the state’s fiscal house in order. And this is not just a question of balancing the budget.  The roaring days and the big income we’ve had in the past decade is over.  We need to look beyond the budget, hoping that the money will come back next year won’t work.”

“It’s going to be a reorganization. It’s going to be a restructuring,” he said. “There are 1,000 state agencies. But by the way, nobody really knows for sure.”

“Property taxes are going through the roof. Property taxes are driving people from their homes, literally, There are 10,521 local government entities in New York.  “You know what my friends? We can’t afford 10,521 governments anymore. That’s what it comes down. It’s not just about balncing a budget. It’s about changing the way we do business, rolling up your sleeves.”

“The second thing we have to do is clean up the mess in Albany.  We have to clean up the disgrace that is the legislative process. We have to clean up the gridlock. We have to dlean up the waste. We have to clean up the delay. Enough is enough, my friends. This government works for the people, and it has let the people down.”

“In this Democratic Party, there is no place for government corruption, period. This government has betrayed the public trust.

“The government is only as good as the level of trust people have, and this government has violated the trust. We also this year, have to hear and understand the concerns of the people in this state, and understand that in this political environment, I’ve been all over the state and everywhere you go, people are afraid.”

He spoke about “activist groups” that he said will seek to try and divide New Yorkers who are, by and large, “afraid.” The tea party has already begun to attack Cuomo and were present, in front of the Crowne Plaza with signs supporting Paladino. 

As an aside, it was interesting watching how the tea party group (of about 15 people) worked the media.  They had an organizer with a bull horn.  Anytime he saw someone standing in front of a camera for an interview, he would direct his 15 people to run over and picket behind the person being interviewed.  First they would all run to one corner, then be directed to the opposite corner. Then back in front of the hotel. 

“They’ll try to take divisions and exploit division.  They’ll use the fear to separate. Our message has to be the exact opposite: we won’t hear about dvision, we are about unity and unifying this state like it’s never been unified before. That’s who we are. Let them try to divide us.”

I took particular notice of the 10521 governments in New York State because this has been a topic of discussion on thebatavian quite often.  A real reason to take a look at consolidation.  Included in that number were state, county, city, town and village governments along with utility districts.
 

Governor Patterson hosted the opening reception, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand the banquet for about 500 guests, and Cuomo hosted the dessert.

The straw poll will take place today, Saturday. 

Lawmakers go to Albany to fix budget, fail

By Howard B. Owens

Buffalo News writer Tom Precious pretty much says all that needs to be said about the state of the state in the first paragraph of his story today:

ALBANY — State lawmakers returned Tuesday to Albany, collected their per diems, ate free lunches, huddled with lobbyists and met with each other in private. But they were unable to accomplish the chief task that brought them back to the Capitol: budget repair.

That's good, honest reporting.

White Cane Awareness Day October 15th!

By Charlie Piscitello

October 15th is White Cane Awareness Day. October is White Cane Awareness Month.  The White Cane enables freedom, self-reliance, and identification to the public.  Only persons who are legally blind are allowed to carry a long white cane with a red strip above the tip.  New York State's White Cane Law requires drivers to yield to persons carrying a white cane or using a guide dog. 

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Video: What's up with New York's border?

By Philip Anselmo

Holland Land Office Museum Director Pat Weissend tells us why our forebears saw fit to end New York state at Lake Erie instead of just continuing on to the Mississippi... or on to the Pacific. Why not? Pat tells us. Also included in this third installment of our series on what's going on over at that museum is Pat's explanation of why Transit Road is called Transit Road. Really, this one's a gem, folks. Enjoy!

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