Local Matters

Recent comments

Community Sponsors

Sen. Ed Rath

June 28, 2021 - 12:11pm
posted by Press Release in Arc GLOW, news, Sen. Ed Rath, COVID-19, Nurses Week.

Submitted photo and press release:

During Nurses Week (May 6th through 12th) Senator Ed Rath sought nominations of local nurses to honor. 

“The outpouring of nominations we saw was tremendous," Rath said. "Our nurses play such a critical role in our communities, and I believe that COVID really highlighted the importance of our medical professionals. 

“The stories we heard about our local nurses was nothing short of amazing. We are extremely fortunate to have so many amazing men and women willing to put others before themselves.:

More than 200 nominations were received from throughout the 61st Senate District. 

In photo aboe, Senator Rath presents ARC Genesee Orleans nurse Kristie Rada with a certificate of recognition to honor her work.

June 11, 2021 - 1:33pm

Press release from Sen. Ed Rath:

Beginning June 10th, small and micro businesses, as well as small for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations, can apply for up to $50,000 in state grants, and I want our neighbors to be among the first to know!

It is estimated that more than 300,000 small businesses here in New York are eligible for funds from a new $800 million small business recovery program.

This aid could be used to help employers finance operating expenses incurred during the coronavirus pandemic between March 1, 2020 and April 1, 2021 and can be used to cover:

  • Payroll, insurance, and utility costs;

  • Commercial rent or mortgage payments for NYS-based property;

  • Payment of local property or school taxes;

  • Costs of personal protection equipment (PPE) necessary to protect worker and consumer health and safety;

  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) costs, and other machinery or equipment costs;

  • Supplies and materials necessary for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

According to Empire State Development, the agency in charge of administering these grants, priority will be given to socially and economically disadvantaged business owners, including minority- and women-owned business enterprises, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses and veteran-owned businesses, and businesses located in economically distressed communities.

For program eligibility and use requirements, and for additional information, visit the state’s Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program website. The website is expected to be updated as additional details become available, so I encourage you to check it regularly.

I also encourage eligible employers to begin preparing necessary documents in the days ahead, and to sign up for alerts at the link above.

Funds available for this program are limited, so I encourage eligible employers to apply swiftly as soon as applications become available.

While much more needs to be done to truly help our local businesses get back on track, it is my hope that by raising awareness for this program early, eligible businesses will be able to benefit from this fund.

June 1, 2021 - 3:33pm
posted by Press Release in Sen. Ed Rath, Excluded Workers, Fund, employment.

Press release:

Senator Ed Rath has introduced legislation, S7086, that would establish a return-to-work bonus and employer relief fund. This would prioritize the hiring and rehiring of those previously receiving unemployment benefits. 

“Getting New Yorkers back to work is one of my top priorities," Senator Rath said. "Businesses are struggling to find workers as the rate of unemployment in the State remains unsustainable. This incentive would benefit both those looking for work and the employers, a win-win for everyone."

The funding for the program would come from the $2.1 billion set aside for the Excluded Workers Fund in the 2021-22 New York State budget. The bill is currently in the Senate Standing Committee on Finance for consideration. 

This bill is one of many Senator Rath has introduced to help get New Yorkers back to work and reopen the economy.

May 26, 2021 - 11:55am
posted by Press Release in Sen. Ed Rath, COVID-19, news, mask mandate for children.

Press release:

"On May 24th New York State reversed the decision to require children ages 2 to 5 to wear masks in daycare and summer camp settings. As an outspoken opponent to this change, I am very happy that this decision was made. 

"At a time when COVID-19 cases are dropping and mask wearing is being eased, it did not make sense to require this new age group to wear masks. Especially since for the past 14 months, this age group was not required to wear masks in these settings and did not appear to be major contributors to COVID spread.

"Thank you to all the parents and childcare experts who spoke out on this issue. It is critical that we advocate for our children."

May 6, 2021 - 11:26am
posted by Billie Owens in Nurses Week, news, Sen. Ed Rath.

Nurses' Week is May 6th through May 12th. Senator Ed Rath (NYS-61st) will be honoring local nurses nominated by the community. 

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is how important our nurses and medical professionals are," Senator Ed Rath said. "We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our nurses.” 

To nominate someone, visit Senator Rath’s website and fill out the nomination form.



Today is National Nurses Day.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife to honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth and to advance nurses' role in transforming health care around the world.

This year, the American Nurses Association (ANA) joined with WHO and global colleagues in extending the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife into 2021 because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the increased visibility of nurses’ contributions.

In the United States, the national theme for Nurses Week in 2021 is #WeAnswerTheCall.

April 27, 2021 - 1:50pm
posted by Press Release in news, proposed gasoline tax, Sen. Ed Rath.

From Sen. Ed Rath (NYS 61st):

"I wanted to update you on a dangerous proposal that has come to light in Albany. Albany Democrats are proposing a massive new tax on gasoline, an estimated 55 cent-per-gallon tax on New Yorkers at the pump. This is on top of the billions in news taxes included in this year's budget.

"This proposed legislation does not just increase the prices at the pump, it will also increase the cost of natural gas heating for homes by 25 percent. New Yorkers already pay enough to fill their cars and heat their homes; this is only going to add to the already overly burdensome taxes we have in our State. This bill, like many others, will disproportionately hurt Upstate and have negative consequences on our communities. 

"As we all know, many New Yorkers are facing some of the hardest times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; to increase taxes even further on necessary goods and services is unconscionable. We should be helping our hard-working taxpayers and businesses, not increase their already high costs of living and doing business in New York State."

April 6, 2021 - 5:22pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Video Lottery Terminal funds, Sen. Ed Rath.

Municipal leaders would be pleasantly surprised if the final New York State budget for 2021-22 includes the restoration of Video Lottery Terminal funding generated from activity at Batavia Downs Gaming.

“If it is indeed true that we will receive the $440,789 that we typically have gotten or even a portion thereof, we could bring back some of the programming we cut in our budget – such as equipment for various departments and overtime for special police details,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski said today.

Tabelski said City Council did not budget for the VLT money, which has become a volatile issue in state budget negotiations – in, then out and then back in again at a reduced amount.

She was reacting to a press release shared by state Sen. Edward Rath III this morning, indicating that the state’s final budget bill includes $800,000 in VLT aid to be split among the city, Town of Batavia and Genesee County.

Rath said that he strongly opposed when the VLT provision originally was left out of the Senate One-House budget.

“Many of our communities are beginning to recover from COVID and the financial implications, to cut their funding at such a critical time would be detrimental,” he said.

Tabelski said she wouldn’t support using VLT money to fund hiring or unfreezing of positions. Instead, she said she would recommend funding police, fire and/or public works positions that were previously unfunded should the state fully restore its Aid and Incentives for Municipalities.

“The AIM payments have been more stable; with the VLT money, we’ve been on a rollercoaster,” she said.

Previous VLT allocations resulted in $200,392 coming to Genesee County and $160,388 coming to the Town of Batavia.

County Manager Matt Landers said he budgeted $160,313 – a 20-percent reduction -- in VLT aid in 2021, but, until recently, was concerned that the county wouldn’t even receive that much.

As far as the Town of Batavia is concerned, Supervisor Gregory Post said the board did not budget for this funding in 2021 because “it has not been reliable.”

“We always were waiting until the last minute (to see if it would be coming),” Post said. “In 2020, when we did budget for it, we received notice that we wouldn’t be receiving it at the expected time.”

Post said the town received part of the VLT funds in 2020 and the rest, minus 5 percent, early in 2021.

He said the $160,388 in unanticipated revenue is “good news” and will help the town “attenuate significant loss in revenue from Genesee County.”

Landers and Tabelski thanked Rath and Assemblyman Stephen Hawley for their efforts to restore the full amount.

“We are grateful to both Senator Rath and Assemblyman Hawley for lobbying for this revenue that benefits the county, city and town greatly,” Landers said.

A spokesperson for Rath moments ago confirmed that the full amount of VLT funding has been put back into the budget, and expected it to be passed over the next several hours.

March 24, 2021 - 2:51pm

Press release:

Albany – The Senate One-house Budget Resolution was passed on March 15th. The budget resolution amounts to $209.98 billion in spending, however important municipal aid to Genesee County is noticeably missing. The cut to Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) aid would amount to an $800,000 cut to Genesee County.

“The cut is extremely troubling but even more troubling, the aid is maintained statewide, except for two counties represented by Republican senators," said Senator Ed Rath. "This decision smells like partisan politics that will have detrimental effects to the residents of Batavia and Genesee County.

"I am hopeful that as budget negations continue this aid will be restored.  Many communities are struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic and to play political games with their aid is appalling."

“VLT aid is critical to the City of Batavia’s continued efforts to revitalize the City and provide critical services to the residents and businesses the City Serves," said Eugene Jankowski, Batavia City Council president. "We appreciate Senator Rath’s advocacy for communities in Western New York to ensue that we can weather the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and prosper once more.

“Genesee County, Town and City of Batavia provide full public safety to Batavia Downs and patrons," said Shelley Stein, chair of the Genesee County Legislature. "Locally owned and maintained roads are necessary to carry patrons to Batavia Downs. VLT dollars support these public benefits easing the burden on local property taxpayers.

"Our request is to fully restore the VLT dollars of support to Genesee County, Town and City of Batavia in the 2021-22 budget.” 

Senator Rath recently wrote a letter to Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins requesting for the aid to be restored. The Governor proposed eliminating all aid for host communities. The Assembly One-house Budget restored aid to all host communities.

March 16, 2021 - 4:49pm
posted by Press Release in Sen. Ed Rath, news, Local Government Committee.

From Sen. Ed Rath, NYS 61st Senate District:

“It has recently come to light that the Cuomo Administration’s ‘vaccine czar’ Larry Schwartz has been calling local county government officials to gauge their support of the embattled Governor, this suggests that politics may improperly impact the equitable distribution of vaccines to New Yorkers," Sen. Ed Rath said. "This raises serious questions for me surrounding the vaccine distribution and whether ‘support for the governor’ has been taken into consideration all along when determining vaccine allocations.  

“Our communities and frontline workers are trying to battle the ongoing public health crisis and get residents vaccinated. Furthermore, many of our rural communities continue to ask for additional vaccine allocations. What we need is to have collaboration and open communication between our State and local governments, not fear and intimidation.  

“As Ranking Member of the Local Government Committee, I raised my concern in our committee meeting this morning and asked for a subpoena to investigate the matter of communications between Larry Schwartz and our local governments. It is critical that this issue be examined.

"As legislators, we need clarity and hold those accountable for any erroneous actions. This Administration is engulfed in scandals and New Yorkers should not being paying the price for their continued screwups."

March 11, 2021 - 2:47pm
posted by Press Release in news, Sen. Ed Rath, governor's 2021-22 budget, taxes.

From Sen. Ed Rath:

It is no secret that New Yorkers pay some of the highest taxes in the nation. Unfortunately, it does not look like there will be any reprieve in our 2021-22 budget, despite the influx of aid coming from the latest round of stimulus funding.

A report recently found that New York State has the third highest tax rates in the nation. New York continually ranks as among the worst states for taxes and for business climate. This needs to change!

News of the Federal aid coming to New York as part of the American Rescue Plan, seemed promising for residents. However, the Governor has made it clear that tax increases are not off the table. In fact, the Governor's budget proposal includes eliminating the State income tax reduction for the middle class. 

Now is not the time to be raising taxes on hardworking New Yorkers. Many businesses and families are feeling extreme financial pressure and raising taxes will only make these matters worse. We should be working to jump start our struggling economy by helping businesses reopen and rehire.

I will continue to keep you updated on the progress of the New York State budget and will continue to fight for policies that make New York more affordable for hardworking families and small businesses.

March 9, 2021 - 12:10pm

Press release:

Senator Ed Rath has introduced a package of legislation that would help our recovering businesses to reopen and rehire.  

“Our businesses and local economy have taken a huge hit during the pandemic," Senator Rath said. "Businesses from restaurants to bowling alleys to hair salons are struggling at no fault of their own. The goal of this legislation package is to provide some much-needed relief as these businesses work to reopen."

The bills included in this package are S.4691S.5140S.5141 and S.5408.  S.4691 -- these would create the “Save our Small Businesses Grant Program.” S.5140 would establish a “Hire-Now” tax credit. S.5141 would provide a tax credit for employers who hire individuals previously on unemployment. Lastly, S. 5408 would increase the child and dependent care tax credit.  

“The bills included in this package all focus on instrumental aspects of restarting our economy and helping both those who have found themselves unemployed as a result of the pandemic and the businesses who are working to rebuild,” Rath said. 

For more information on all of the bills, please visit here.

March 6, 2021 - 12:55pm
posted by Press Release in business, Sen. Ed Rath, agriculture.

From Sen. Ed Rath, NYS Senate District #61:

Agriculture is such an important aspect of our Upstate communities and supporting our farms is critical. During Legislative Session this week, several agricultural bills came to the floor.

I was happy to cosponsor and support these bills, and for your convenience, I have included information on a few of the bills below. 

Thank you to all our farms who have stepped up during the pandemic and supported our local communities! I am happy to be able to do my part in supporting local agriculture.

S.549 - Relates to the procurement of locally grown farm and food products.

S.2135 - Relates to agricultural custom operators.

S.2199 - Provides for the expansion of regional farmers' markets.

S.3396 - Establishes the New York state animal and plant fiber program to be part of the New York state Grown and Certified Program.

S.4072 - Establishes a one-stop farming hotline with the Cornell cooperative extension.

S.4707 - Relates to establishing a carbon farming tax credit for farmers.

S.4892 - Establishes the Nourish New York program.

February 5, 2021 - 2:18pm
posted by Press Release in Sen. Ed Rath, news, NYS 2021 Legislative Session, COVID-19.

From Sen. Ed Rath, 61st Senate District:

It was an extremely busy first month of Legislative Session. As you would suspect, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has dominated much of the conversation and I wanted to share this brief update with you. 

Earlier this year, I hosted a roundtable with county government officials to discuss the State’s performance regarding the vaccination rollout. As ranking member of the Local Governments Committee, I believe it is critical that we include county leaders and hear their perspective in the vaccination conversation. The conversation will be ongoing, and I am hopeful that it will be helpful in the partnership between our counties and the State.

In addition to discussing vaccine distribution, I have continued to support proposals that will help our small businesses get back on their feet. Last week, I was honored to join my colleagues from Western New York to discuss the effects of the pandemic on the hospitality industry. Simply put, our businesses and restaurants need real relief. I am proud that the Senate Minority Conference has put together a legislative package to help relieve some of the burden they are currently carrying as a result of mandates.

To learn more about our plan or for a breakdown of the bills and more information on the specifics, click here

Lastly, it is critically important that we assess how we as a State can do better. As I am sure many of you are aware, the Attorney General released a report on the State’s nursing home deaths. Like so many residents with loved ones in senior care facilities, I was deeply troubled by this report.

If the Department of Health does not share the requested data, a subpoena is necessary.

If data is being misrepresented or altered, the public deserves to know the truth and officials need to be held accountable. The questions surrounding COVID in our nursing homes has been an issue since the start of the pandemic, making this an even more troubling report. I hope for our nursing home residents and their families, answers will be provided.

I continue to monitor these situations carefully. 

I hope this information is helpful to you. Stay safe.

January 8, 2021 - 1:44pm
posted by Press Release in Sen. Ed Rath, 61st senate district, news.

Submitted photo and press release:

Senator Edward Rath III has been sworn in as the New York State senator representing the 61st Senate District.

Senator Rath was sworn in on the Senate Floor on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

“I am honored to officially be serving as the New York State Senator for the 61st Senate District," Rath said. "I am proud to have earned the trust of the residents of this district. Our state is facing some of the most challenging times in recent history and our communities are suffering.

"As your State Senator, you have my word that I will fight for our communities and residents.”

Photo: Senator Rath, center, his wife, Amy, in gray dress, and his mother, Mary Lou Rath, former NYS senator representing the 61 Senate District.

Subscribe to The Batavian - Local Matters

Copyright © 2008-2022 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button

News Break