Skip to main content

property tax relief

Assemblyman Hawley: Governor's Welfare Handout Circumventing Welfare Reform

By Steve Hawley




            According to Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C – Batavia), Governor Paterson has unveiled plans to hand out $175 million in a “back to school” bonus program for hundreds of thousands of welfare and food-stamp recipients. 


While this year’s budget included a ten percent welfare hike, and 30 percent over the next three years, recipients with children ages three to seventeen will receive $200 cash per child, for example a family with 5 eligible children would receive $1,000.  Additionally, it has been noted that the governor’s office has ordered local officials to make grants for children in families that have violated work requirements mandated by welfare reforms, and many families whose children are no longer enrolled in school will still receive the handout, which is supposedly to be used for back-to-school items.


            This year’s state budget, which increased welfare payments, conversely cut $1.5 billion in STAR rebate payments and raised taxes and fees on hardworking families by over $8 billion, noted Hawley.


“Propagating a culture of dependence is not the way to spur the economy and improve the lives of New Yorkers,” Hawley stated.  “We should be encouraging recipients instead to look for work, to take charge of their lives and do what is right for their families.  This is a huge step back in welfare reform.”


            “While millions of hardworking New Yorkers have seen their rebate checks disappear and are struggling to make ends meet, the governor plans to hand out free money to welfare recipients?” said Hawley.  “We’re not talking stipends or vouchers here either, but cash to be used with no oversight or regulation.  It’s outrageous that senior citizens and middle-class families are stuck paying higher taxes while the governor turns around and hands the money off to those already receiving welfare and food stamps.”


Steve Hawley Passes 15 Bills for Western New York

By Steve Hawley




As the regularly scheduled legislative session drew to a close, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia) was pleased to have been able to have over a dozen pieces of his legislation passed, despite a banner year for Albany’s notorious dysfunction.


“Despite all the chaos, changes in leadership and gridlock, I was able to get some common-sense and important pieces of legislation passed that will greatly help the communities in Western New York, as well as the rest of the state,” said Hawley.


Of the 15 pieces of legislation that Hawley sponsored, which passed the Assembly, five bills specifically helped local communities in Western New York.  These bills include measures to help town court proceedings in the towns of Elba, Oakfield and Batavia, and the city of Batavia.  These four municipalities are leading the way in the state for finding an innovative solution, to their individual need for new and upgraded court facilities, will help local governments save taxpayer dollars by sharing services and building a joint court facility.


Perhaps Hawley’s largest statewide initiatives that passed were measures to help firefighters.  Assembly Bill 2733-A establishes the volunteer firefighter and volunteer emergency services recruitment and retention fund.  Assembly Bill 6051-A allows firefighters to operate a fire truck without possessing a commercial driver’s license, saving fire districts endless amounts of time, which can be better spent training, as well as thousands of dollars annually.  This measure was passed by both houses and signed into law.


            Hawley’s passed legislation also includes a number of initiatives to help those with disabilities.  Assembly Bill 7848 requires access aisles of handicapped parking spaces to be marked with a sign and stripes; and Assembly Bill 7849 requires that handicapped parking spaces be at least 8 feet wide.


            The Assemblyman also played an instrumental role in leading the fight against some of the more dangerous bills that came to the floor, such as the “Farm Death Bill.”  Hawley stated, “The fight against this harmful bill, brought together farmers, farm workers, and agribusinesses, and bipartisan legislators from across the state.  This opposition was an example of Albany at its finest.  Unfortunately, its passage in the Assembly highlighted the standard dysfunction in the State Capitol, but I am hopeful that our collective voices will help prevent this bill from coming to fruition in the Senate.”


            Hawley also lead the charge for other important measures, such as property tax relief.  During and after budget negotiations the Assemblyman stood on the Assembly floor to demand relief for overburdened homeowners and businesses, specifically calling on both houses and the Governor to reinstate the STAR Rebate Check and restore cuts made to the traditional STAR programs.  Hawley also called on the Governor to make smart usage of the $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars which have not yet been appropriated.  He commented, “We need to begin looking at ways to make it easier for residents and businesses to survive.  Maintaining jobs, and attracting new ones, are necessary to keep our economy moving.”



Assemblyman Hawley Calls for Property Tax Relief

By Steve Hawley

This year’s legislative session began with a lot of talk about the need to put in place property tax relieving measures, such as a property tax cap or circuit breaker.  Despite calling for a cap, Governor Paterson did not include this measure in his budget proposal, nor did either house in the final 2009-10 State Budget.

As the end of the regularly scheduled legislative session draws to a close, no property tax relief has been enacted.  In fact, the “three New York City men in a room” have actually added to the burden homeowners, businesses and farmers are facing already.  With no regard for the current dismal fiscal climate, these three men set records when it came to budgetary spending and earmarks.  On top of that, they reduced STAR benefits and brought to the floor cumbersome legislation which passes more job-killing mandates onto businesses and agriculture, such as Assembly Bill 1867, the “Farm Death Bill.”

All of these measures have come from New York City state legislators who know little to nothing about the rural communities or agricultural industry that these bills will truly affect.  In their skyline apartments, issues like property tax reform are not pressing concerns, but as a collective body they have an obligation to help make the entire state a better, more affordable and safer place to live and work.  That obligation is not currently being met.

Clearly, the current partisan turmoil in the State Senate is a distraction for all lawmakers, lobbyists and the media.  However, it is incumbent upon lawmakers to put partisanship aside and keep our promise to the people.  We must enact meaningful property tax relief before the end of the month.

Authentically Local