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steve hawley

March 26, 2020 - 4:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, coronavirus, covid-19, news, live stream, video.
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We're talking with Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

March 19, 2020 - 2:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in covid-19, news, steve hawley, mandated quarantine.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley has supported the bipartisan bill A.10153 that will extend financial coverage to individuals under government-mandated quarantine for COVID-19, or coronavirus. It has been signed by the governor.

The bill temporarily expands eligibility for the state’s paid family leave program to include coverage for individuals under government-mandated quarantine and unable to work.

“I’m glad to see that a reasonable compromise could be reached in the face of this healthcare crisis,” Hawley said. “Our job as legislators is to ease the lives of the citizens we represent, and in a time when jobs are on the line, money is a concern and the future seems uncertain, this is one step toward making the survival of this crisis easier.”

March 18, 2020 - 1:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, covid-19, New York State budget.

A Legislative Column from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

As many of us are aware, the virus known as COVID-19, or coronavirus, has required us to make many changes in our day-to-day lives. From limiting social interactions to setting up curfews in the evenings, these changes are most definitely out of the ordinary. But, I have a feeling we will all be grateful such care is being taken to prevent the spread of the disease when we look back at this event.

However, during this public health crisis, it is becoming clear that some attempts to push forward policy that has not been properly debated or discussed are becoming commonplace. My stance is what it has always been: the government’s role is not to avoid transparency, and I will fight to make sure New Yorkers know what their government is doing.

We are not here to tie the bow on the governor’s bad policy in the middle of a crisis. It’s wrong and it’s dishonest. It’s disappointing to think that the governor would take advantage of the situation by trying to jam his political wish-list into what is supposed to be a policy-free budget. We need to pass a budget that responsibly keeps the state operating, one that allows the state to be financially stable, so we can return at a safer, later date to debate and determine the merits of any and all proposals that do not have a financial impact on everyday New Yorkers.

Additionally, we need to lead by example. While I agree that state legislators should be working day and night to support New Yorkers in this time of crisis, I am equally mindful of keeping legislators as healthy as possible. We are needed in our districts now more than ever, which leads me to believe that pushing back a voting deadline for the budget is more important than ever.

March 18, 2020 - 12:59pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is fighting for small business relief with the “Small Business Recovery Act of 2020,” an act that aims to provide critical financial help at a time when the survival of many small businesses hangs in the balance.

With small businesses making up 99 peaceful of business in New York State, and employing approximately half of the state’s workforce, the impacts of the COVID-19 virus, or coronavirus, threaten not only public health, but the entire state’s economy in the long term.

The Small Business Emergency Recovery Act of 2020 would:

  • Immediately direct the state’s settlement reserve fund of $890 million toward small businesses;
  • Create a 0-percent interest loan program dedicated to helping small businesses meet their payroll commitments;
  • Repurpose available tax credits to help the needs of the state’s existing small businesses;
  • Use all economic development discretionary funding for existing small businesses within New York State;
  • Move tax deadlines for remittance, business tax, and personal income tax ahead 180 days, and;
  • Suspend all regulatory fees on small businesses for 180 days.

“Our citizens are diligently following instructions as given to them by the state government in the interest of stopping the spread of this terrible virus,” Hawley said. “I don’t think  this drastic shift in lifestyle should punish citizens and families who own small businesses and do what we as legislators have asked.

"It’s not only in the best interest of the economy to support these businesses, but as neighbors, it’s the right thing to do for our fellow New Yorkers.”

March 17, 2020 - 11:47am
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, covid-19, coronavirus, news, office hours.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is suspending office hours for the duration of March. This is being done to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus.

“This change is not being taken lightly, because I always want to be sure people can reach me and talk to me,” Hawley said. “But in the interest of preventing the spread of the coronavirus further, I am hoping my friends and neighbors will understand why this change is happening.

Despite the change in in-person availability, staff will be working remotely, and citizens are encouraged to call or e-mail Hawley’s office if they have any comments or questions.

Call: 585-589-5780

Email: [email protected]

Assemblyman Steve Hawley
March Office Hours:

Genesee County: 
Genesee Community College, Room T124
Friday, March 27
1  – 3 p.m.

March 16, 2020 - 1:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, covid-19, coronavirus, news, New York Legislature.

A Legislative Column from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

In the wake of large-scale developments throughout the country, I want to take the time to go through the facts as we have them available to us today, and I want to reassure my friends and neighbors that we are working diligently on the situation. Our goal is to work these new facts into our daily routines and alleviate the public health crisis.

One of the steps that the New York Legislature has taken is passed a $40 million emergency fund that can be used to increase the state’s ability to respond to COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. As the situation has continued to change and grow, and as public health officials have learned more, important steps have been taken and additional measures will come in the future as the situation continues to develop.

Additionally, President Trump has declared a national state of emergency relating to the pandemic; this not only means all federal initiatives are shifting toward the better health and welfare of citizens, but also that forgiveness programs are being implemented to ensure all citizens are protected, both economically and related to their healthcare.

We are currently in uncharted territory: international travel has been restricted, professional sports leagues have been suspended and Wall Street’s reactions all demonstrate the gravity of the situation. It can be overwhelming to see the constant news coverage paired with social media commentary, wild predictions and increased anxiety about what the future holds. While concern is a natural response, I am calling for citizens to remain calm and follow the guidelines set forth by public policy and health experts.

As of today, there are currently 729 positive cases in New York, with 329 of the confirmed cases found in New York City, New Rochelle and Long Island. As the state government continues to assess and manage the total impacts of this disease, it is critical that we all work together to manage the issue.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a wealth of information about what the virus is, how people can protect their health and what to do if you think you may be a victim of the disease.

I urge everyone to review the CDC’s recommendations and do your part to help prevent the disease from spreading further. As part of its response and to ensure residents stay informed, New York state has established the New York State Coronavirus Hotline at: 1-888-364-3065.

Some of these ideas and recommendations might seem silly and obvious, but a healthy reminder is as important now as it has ever been. What we are learning as we study and combat this virus is that the most effective ways to beat it are the simplest. It is important that, as the situation continues to change rapidly, we keep up-to-date with accurate information, and be considerate of others.

As of right now, it is clear that our homes are not susceptible to the coronavirus. Only two positive infections have been confirmed in Monroe County. But, as I said before, the situation is likely to change, so it is imperative that citizens practice healthy habits of washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and limiting prolonged close contact with others. Do this, and we will push through this incident together.

Assemblyman Hawley represents the 139th District, which consists of Genesee, Orleans and parts of Monroe County. For more information, please visit Assemblyman Hawley’s Official Website.

March 9, 2020 - 5:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, coronavirus, news.

Press release:

In light of the CoronaVirus impacting individuals in Western New York, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is urging residents to remain calm, but take basic precautions to avoid becoming infected or ill.

To date, there have been 142 total confirmed cases of CoronaVirus in New York, with eight people hospitalized. The highest at-risk populations are seniors, those with underlying illnesses and those with compromised immune systems.

“The state is taking an expedited and thorough approach to ensuring the well-being of our residents and executing the appropriate steps to stop the spread of CoronaVirus,” Hawley said. “My office has been in close contact with state leaders and the most important thing residents can do is to remain calm, practice thorough hygiene and avoid travel and contact with those thought to be infected.”

Gov. Cuomo announced today that hand sanitizer will be provided to New Yorkers free of charge and paid sick leave will be given to individuals under quarantine. In addition, there are new guidelines for those visiting correctional facilities and for nursing homes.

“The 18 students who have returned from Italy are asymptomatic but are being quarantined in an empty dorm at SUNY Brockport out of precaution," Hawley said. "School officials are doing everything necessary to keep the student population safe and the Brockport community will be given additional info in the days to come. Please remain vigilant and precautionary, and seek medical attention if you think you’ve become infected.”

March 5, 2020 - 12:28pm

From Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

In light of years of stagnant investment in the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and a proposed elimination of $65 in Extreme Winter Recovery funds by Gov. Cuomo, Assemblyman Steve Hawley rallied Wednesday in Albany with highway superintendents from around the state calling for infrastructure investment parity.

For several years, CHIPS funding has been held stagnant at $438.1 million statewide despite billions of dollars in increases to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and repair downstate bridges.

This funding is used to repair and pave streets and highways. Furthermore, Gov. Cuomo has proposed cutting $65 million in Extreme Winter Recovery funds which are used by areas experiencing harsh winters to speed up recovery and repair processes.

“Whenever the MTA cries broke Gov. Cuomo is right there willing to throw more tax dollars their way, yet Upstate has to fight tooth and nail each year for a little bit extra to ensure we have safe travel,” Hawley said. “Millions of upstate residents, emergency services vehicles, farmers and manufacturers use our roads each day and their safety and quality of life matter just as much as a subway patron.

"We are seeking a $100 million increase to CHIPS and a restoration of the $65 million Extreme Winter Recovery fund – a small and reasonable step toward parity in a budget totaling over $175 billion. I will continue fighting to see that upstate gets it fair share this year!”

February 28, 2020 - 6:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, steve hawley.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced today that he has endorsed Sen. Chris Jacobs in the April 28 Special Election for U.S. Congress. Jacobs is running to serve the remainder of former Rep. Chris Collins’ term representing New York’s 27th Congressional District.

The district spans from the suburbs of Buffalo through the Finger Lakes and Canandaigua with Hawley’s hometown of Batavia sitting at the heart of the district.

“I am wholeheartedly endorsing Senator Jacobs to serve as our next Congressman,” Hawley said. “In an era highlighted by radical ideals and attacks on our values, we need a strong leader and proven legislator who will stand up for our beliefs here in Western New York.

"Senator Jacobs is a successful businessman with a proven track record of creating jobs and giving back to his neighbors philanthropically. I endorse Senator Jacobs in the April Special Election and am confident he will serve with honor and dignity as our next Congressman.”

UPDATE: The Chris Jacobs campaign also put out a press release that contained this statement:

“I am beyond honored and grateful to receive Assemblyman Hawley’s endorsement," Jacobs said. "It has been an honor serving beside him in the State Legislature and he has been a true conservative fighter for the people of Western New York.

"With his endorsement, I feel confident that we can usher in a new era of prosperity in our region and send strong conservative leadership to Washington."

February 25, 2020 - 2:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, green energy.

A Statement by Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“This is an unprecedented attack on the autonomy of our local governments," Assemblyman Steve Hawley said. "If the people who live in our towns and villages Upstate have no say when it comes to something as fundamental as land use, what rights can they reasonably expect to maintain?

"Of course Cuomo’s wealthy donors in the energy industry want him to be able to handpick their projects and situate them wherever is best for them. That doesn’t mean the governor should go along with it. 

“I’m all for green energy projects that work for local residents, local governments and local economies. Giving the governor total, unilateral control would be a grave mistake. I’ll be fighting this misguided proposal, and I’ll be working hard to make sure it’s not included in our final budget plan."

February 24, 2020 - 4:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, Green Light Law, news.

Submitted photo and press release:

Following a briefing in Albany by members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Assemblyman Steve Hawley joined lawmakers from across the state today (Feb. 24) at a press conference to highlight the dangers of the "Green Light Law," which went into effect on Jan. 1.

The law, which a recnt Siena Poll show is opposed by 48 percent of New York voters, allows illegal aliens to apply for a New York State driver’s license. 

Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders have expressed strong opposition to allowing Customs Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration authorities to access the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database to improve data sharing efforts.

Genesee County Clerk Michael T. Cianfrini recently wrote to Gov. Cuomo requesting that an amendment be passed allowing Customs Border Patrol to gain access to the DMV database. 

“As egregious and offensive this law is to law-abiding New Yorkers, we shouldn’t be making matters worse by limiting cooperation with federal immigration authorities who use this information to keep the country safe,” Hawley said.

“Cooperation and data sharing between law enforcement agencies are key to tracking down and apprehending dangerous individuals and state leaders in New York are putting us all at risk by playing these political games with Washington.

"I am calling on Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders to work with us to amend this dangerous law before the public’s safety is compromised any further.”

Photo: Assemblyman Steve Hawley, left, listens as Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay speaks at the podium on the dangers of the "Green Light Law."

February 19, 2020 - 3:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, steve hawley, veterans.

Press release:

Assemblymen Steve Hawley (Batavia) and Jake Ashby (Castleton), both veterans themselves, alongside their colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference co-hosted a “Voices for Veterans” event today at the American Legion Cottreall-Warner Post 942 in Webster, where they called for the immediate restoration of Gov. Cuomo’s planned $5.68 million cut to veterans’ services.

Gov. Cuomo’s 2020-2021 Executive Budget takes aim at initiatives that range from helping soldiers manage PTSD and mental health challenges, to enabling veterans to find job-training and successful careers, to improving access to VA services and quality healthcare.

“Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much to serve and protect our great nation. They have more than earned our support – this is why I am fighting to restore $6 million in funding for veterans programs,” said Ashby, the ranking Republican member on the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “Every year the governor tries to chip away at funding for veterans – funding that provides mental health services and critical help with the transition to civilian life. We won’t let him get away with it. New York must restore its support and commitment to veterans now.”

The largest cut proposed is to the wildly successful, popular Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer-to-Peer Program. The governor’s budget eliminates more than $4 million from the counseling program that allows veterans to connect with other men and women who have served in the Armed Forces and are facing challenges similar to their own.

“These programs are the life blood of our veterans’ support network. Gutting funding for them is a slap in the face to the men and women who have risked their lives to protect ours,” Hawley said. “This isn’t a game. I am calling on Andrew Cuomo to restore his proposed funding cuts and stop playing politics with the well-being of our veterans.”

Among some of the other veteran-related programs facing funding cuts are:

  • Helmets-to-Hardhats: $200,000—Assists post-9/11 veterans’ transition into careers in the building trades.
  • Clear Path for Veterans: $200,000—Serves as a key source for veterans in upstate New York to access resources and programs including professional skills and training development, peer and wingman services and K-9 therapy programs.
  • NYS Defenders Association Veterans Defense Program: $500,000—Provides training, legal assistance and support to provide representation of veterans and service members involved in the criminal or family court systems.
  • SAGE Veterans Project: $100,000—SAGE advocates and offers services that help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults who are veterans of military service improve their access to the VA and other veteran services, as well as support their overall health and wellness.
  • Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project: $200,000—Provide assistance with applying for veterans benefits and representation before the Board of Veterans Appeals and in federal court, at no cost to veterans, when benefits are denied.

“The governor’s budget includes $178 billion in spending. In recent years, he’s fought to use your tax dollars to give illegal immigrants free healthcare, free college tuition and driver’s licenses," said Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb (Canandaigua). "He wants taxpayer-funded political campaigns. He continually finds public contracts for his biggest political donors. At the same time, his budget would cut funding for veterans’ services by millions and millions of dollars. It’s unconscionable, and he should be ashamed. I’m proud to join my colleagues in fighting to restore this funding. Our veterans represent the very best of us, and the very best is exactly what they deserve from their government when they come home.”

Assemblyman Mark Johns (Webster) said “Veterans have sacrificed everything – their lives, time with their families and friends, their personal and professional goals – in order to protect our freedoms. It is vital that we do everything we can to show our appreciation, and ensuring the future of programs like the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Counseling Program is a great place to start. This program works. It is a proven life saver and its funding must be restored in this year’s budget."

“Why does the Governor always have to mess with the funding that our veterans hold dear?” asked Assemblyman Peter Lawrence (Greece). “Every year he finds it necessary to play political ping-pong with funding that is crucial to our veteran’s services. Services like the Dwyer Program should never be in jeopardy of being cut from the budget, and it seems like year in and year out the governor uses this funding as a political pawn during budget negotiations. I remain adamant about seeing it restored, and believe with continued pressure it will be included in the final budget.”

“Unfortunately, Gov. Cuomo’s planned cut to veterans’ services is not the first of its kind,” said Marjorie Byrnes (Caledonia). “For the past four years, the Dwyer Program, a peer-to-peer counseling service, has been nixed from his Executive Budget. The very people who fight for our freedom should never have to worry about losing services dear to them. As budget negotiations continue in the coming months, know that I will fight to see this funding restored and available for all counties.”

“It is an absolute travesty that the governor has, yet again, for the fourth year in a row, proposed a cut to funding for programs relating to veterans’ mental health,” said Assemblyman Brian Manktelow (Lyons). “I applaud Assemblyman Jake Ashby and Assemblyman Steve Hawley for taking charge with the 'Voices for Veterans' events to call for Gov. Cuomo to restore services immediately. I fully support this motion and hope to see the governor not only restore this back to the budget immediately but to increase the funding as well so all of our veterans are well taken care of.”

The Conference is also pushing to codify the expansion of the MERIT scholarship program for Gold Star Families by enacting it into law. After public outrage about the scholarship being threatened last year, the program was temporarily saved due to an executive order. Members of the Assembly Minority Conference are pushing for the scholarship to be properly passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.

February 18, 2020 - 11:29am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, steve hawley, veterans.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced today that he will join Assemblyman Jake Ashby local veterans and members of the Assembly Minority Conference tomorrow morning, Feb. 19, for the first of several events calling on Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders to restore proposed cuts to vital veterans’ programs in this year’s budget due on April 1.

The assemblymen are calling for the immediate restoration of Gov. Cuomo’s planned $5.68 million cut to veterans’ services in the 2020-21 Executive Budget.

The largest cut proposed is to the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer-to-Peer Program. The governor’s budget eliminates more than $4 million from the counseling program that allows veterans to connect with other men and women who have served in the armed forces and are facing challenges similar to their own.

“Too many veterans come home after serving their country living with the horrors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and to cut these programs that are vital to protecting our nation’s heroes is an utter disgrace,” Hawley said. “Our veterans deserve to feel protected and cared for just as they have protected us from enemies foreign and domestic.

"In a budget that exceeds $170 billion eliminating vital programs for our veterans should be the last we are focusing on. I am hopeful we can call attention to the necessity of these programs and work with state leaders to see they are restored ahead of the budget deadline on April 1.”

Hawley, son of a World War II veteran and member of the Ohio Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves, will be joined by Assemblyman Jake Ashby who served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves and rose to the rank of Captain. Ashby is the Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee and Hawley is a longtime member and former ranker.

February 15, 2020 - 10:56am
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, batavia, VLT funds.

Press release:

As budget negotiations in Albany intensify, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has written to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie requesting that Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) Aid be restored in this year’s Enacted Budget due April 1.

The City of Batavia is slated to lose $440,789; the Town of Batavia $160,388 and Genesee County $200,392 as proposed by Gov. Cuomo in this year’s Executive Budget. 

“The impact on these municipalities, along with others, will put a devastating financial hardship on our already overtaxed New York State citizens who continue to flee to other states,” Hawley wrote in the letter. 

“Local officials and constituents in my district have reached out to me with their concerns. This proposal will have a huge impact on fire companies, police officers and other essential personnel who provide safety for our communities. On behalf of all communities in jeopardy of losing this aid, I implore you to restore this funding."

February 14, 2020 - 1:40pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, Library Aid, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has penned a letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie requesting that Library Aid be fully funded in this year’s state budget.

Gov. Cuomo plans to cut Library Aid by $5 million this year, for a total of $91.6 million, according to his Executive Budget proposal. Furthermore, the governor aims to cut Library Construction Aid by $20 million back to a total of $14 million. 

“This level of state aid is inadequate for libraries within this state and there are no other educational institutions expected to function at this level of state aid," Hawley wrote in the letter. "It is imperative that increases in Library Aid are made each year in proportion to the general education funding. As you know, library monies in the budget are not in line with education funding – it is separate, therefore, libraries are not recipients of those increases.

“There should be no barrier when it comes to providing our constituents with the essential tools necessary for their betterment. Our constituents, who range from toddlers to the elderly, depend significantly on the services provided by our libraries. In addition, access to resources for job training, start-up businesses, consumer health, education, financial and technology training come from our libraries.

In previous budget negotiations, Hawley was successful in working with members across the aisle and the governor in restoring proposed cuts to Library Aid.

February 12, 2020 - 12:48pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today scoffed at politicians on the Social Services Committee, many of whom are from New York City, who voted unanimously to block Hawley's bipartisan legislation (A.2251) that would institute a 90-day residence requirement before someone is eligible for welfare benefits in New York.

Republicans voted unanimously to report the bill to the floor for a full vote before the house.

“New York’s bloated welfare system has driven our state into fiscal ruin, causing a multi-billion dollar deficit that will likely fall on the middle class," Hawley said. "It is policies like these that perpetuate our reputation as the cradle to the grave capital of the nation, and attracts more visitors looking for a handout.

“In perilous fiscal times like these when we should be passing bills to root out fraud, waste and abuse in our social service system so that we can afford to help those who have fallen into unfortunate circumstances, instead of expanding an already wasteful system."

February 7, 2020 - 11:05am
posted by Billie Owens in bail reform, criminal justice, steve hawley, news.

Information from a press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is in Rochester this morning at the oldest home in that city -- the Ebenezer Watts Building. He is with victims impacted by the new criminal justice reforms, and law enforcement professionals and his colleagues from the Minority Conference.

They are gathered to call for Assembly Democrats to address the failing bail reforms that recently went effect into last month.

The members will also discuss their recently issued report "Criminal Justice Reform: Addressing the Issues with Bail and Discovery Reforms."

It provides an overview of the reforms that were passed in 2019, the perceived problems with the new laws, and solutions that should have been considered in a more deliberate process.

Also scheduled to attend are:

Assemblyman Peter Lawrence (R,C,I-Greece)

Assemblyman Mark Johns (R,C,I,Ref-Webster)

Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes (R,C-Caledonia)

Assemblyman Brian Manktelow (R,C,I,Ref-Lyons)

Senator Joseph E. Robach (R,C,IP-56th Senate District)

Senator Rich Funke (R,C,IP-55th Senate District)

Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley

Ontario County District Attorney James B. Ritts

Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty

Monroe County Undersheriff Korey K. Brown

Brockport Chief of Police Mark T. Cuzzupoli

Gates Chief of Police James VanBrederode

Ogden Chief of Police Christopher Mears

Greece Deputy Chief of Police Andrew Forsythe

January 22, 2020 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in budget, news, steve hawley, Ed Rath, NYS Association of Counties.

Yesterday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his proposed budget for 2020-2021. His budget press release is too long to put on the home page. You can read it here. Below are reactions we've received to the budget proposal.

From Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“The governor made a lot of promises Tuesday, specifically to increase funding across the board for every program in the state, including an out-of-control Medicaid program that is the root cause behind a $6 billion deficit. In fiscal year 2018 alone, New York spent more on Medicaid than Texas and Florida combined, despite having around half the population.

“The national economy is booming in almost every metric, yet under one-party leadership in New York, we are facing a massive shortfall. Every indication says we need to roll back reckless spending, but Gov. Cuomo continues his handouts, even blaming counties and local governments for causing the state’s woes.

“As budget negotiations intensify, I will be working diligently to see that the governor sticks to his word of no new taxes and that his deficit does not fall on the backs of hardworking taxpayers. Whether it’s property tax relief, road and bridge repair or school funding, Western New York deserves its fair share of help, and I will continue to be a strong advocate on our behalf as the budget is determined over the coming months."

From Ed Rath, candidate for the 61st State Senate District:

“Faced with a $6.5 billion budget gap, I was hoping the Governor would outline some specifics on how he planned to address that shortfall, particularly as it relates to Medicaid. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with the proposed budget the people of New York State heard today. Medicaid accounts for two-thirds of the projected budget shortfall, but the Governor was woefully short on specifics in how he plans to generate the $2.5 billion in savings needed to offset Medicaid spending.

"Similarly, and equally disappointing, the budget proposal fails to reform the cash bail law. Instead, public safety and judicial discretion are being compromised, and a misguided and dangerous policy remains in effect.

“I was pleased to see a focus on education, and I hope that there is adequate funding for our schools to meet their increased financial needs.”

“However, any measure to address and strengthen our state’s business climate is mixed. On one hand, I was also pleased to see that middle-class tax cuts are expected to generate $4.7 million in savings, and that small corporate business tax cuts will generate an estimated $35 million. This is the sort of approach we need to help spur job creation and retention so that companies and workers can remain in our great Empire State, rather than continue to flee to other states. Unfortunately, the budget proposal also includes $51 million in tax and fee increases, which only serve to continue to shift the burden onto the backs of the hardworking people of New York.

“Overall, it seems that any attempt at a step forward in this budget is coupled with two steps backward or deafening silence on how our elected leaders plan to make New York stronger. The people of New York deserve more.”

The 61st Senate District includes portions of Erie, Genesee, and Monroe Counties.

Rath has served in the Erie County Legislature since first winning election in 2007. His district includes Amherst, Clarence, Akron, and Newstead. In the Legislature, he has been a fierce advocate for the reduction and reform of County government to lower the property tax burden, including co-sponsoring the effort to reduce the size of the Legislature from 15 to the current 11 seats. Throughout his 12 years in office, Rath has never voted in favor of a tax increase, and he voted against Erie County’s 2020 spending plan, due to runaway spending increases and public safety concerns.

New York Farm Bureau:

“Governor Cuomo’s proposed funding of $29 million is integral to the success of a number of important agricultural programs that support research, marketing and promotion of New York farm products. In addition, New York Farm Bureau supports the proposed Environmental Protection Fund that assists with conservation and stewardship programs utilized by farmers across the state.

"This year, Governor Cuomo also is proposing several new budget changes that are among our organization’s biggest priorities for the year. This includes a permanent Refundable Investment Tax Credit for farmers, increasing funding for the Farmworker Housing Program to $15 million and expanding the definition of family that was severely limiting in the recently enacted farm labor law. The budget language will better reflect the reality on farms today as many extended family members also play significant roles on farms and should not be covered under new farm labor regulations. These additions will begin to offset the increased labor costs facing our state’s farms, and we thank Governor Cuomo and his administration for continuing to work with New York Farm Bureau to address these issues.”

From the NYS Association of Counties President John F. (Jack) Marren:

In 1966, the State’s new Medicaid program cost county homeowners and businesses $112 million in local property taxes. Today, that cost is $7.6 billion.

More than 50 years later, in 2013, to address property taxes at the local level, the state capped increases in local Medicaid costs. On behalf of the 62 counties, including the boroughs of New York City, we are grateful to Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for championing the State's cap on local Medicaid cost growth. It has proven to be an historic safeguard against property tax growth.

Once again, counties stand united behind lowering the cost of Medicaid and improving the quality of care for those in need. We will review what is under local control to accomplish this, as well as what parameters are under state control, to insure the integrity of the taxpayer-funded health care program.

As with any organization, today’s health care costs, especially those embedded in Medicaid, are inherently systemic. Right now more than one third of New York’s population is on Medicaid, more and more Baby Boomers are accessing costly long-term care, and other medical coverage—from prescriptions to X-rays to hospital stays.

Counties stand ready to work with a Medicaid Redesign Team to assist the state with reforming its Medicaid Program.

January 17, 2020 - 5:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, Cuomo runs off to Puerto Rico.

A statement issued today from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

“While serial felons run free endangering society under new bail laws, statewide infrastructure continues to crumble and we face one of the largest budget deficits in recent memory, Gov. Cuomo thinks it’s the right time to spend unknown amounts of taxpayer money on a trip to Puerto Rico. 

“It has become abundantly clear that the governor cares more about raising his political profile than addressing the serious issues facing New York. Feel good photo ops and trade missions are not always the mark of good leadership but rather it’s having the courage to work through issues and implement real solutions for constituents. 

“Emerging trends under one party rule show our state is growing in the wrong direction. Our debt and deficit are high, Medicaid and welfare spending continues to balloon, population continues to decrease and taxes continue to suppress and stifle two crucial groups needed to grow an economy – homeowners and small businesses. 

“We can’t deny that out of control Medicaid spending is the root cause of our state deficit. We already spend more than Florida and Texas combined with half the population and the continued expansion is clearly unsustainable. Rest assured, I will be making my voice heard loud and clear throughout this year’s budget process to see that New York’s fiscal ship is set on the right path.”

January 16, 2020 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley said, “After much consideration with my friends and family, I have decided not to seek the Republican nomination for the open 27th Congressional seat in Congress at this time.

“Serving the residents of the 139th District in the State Assembly has been one of the highest honors of my life and our state faces a host of pressing challenges that cannot be ignored.

"Thus, my friends and neighbors deserve a full-time Assemblyman and someone who is laser-focused on meeting those challenges and moving our state forward.

“While it would be an extreme honor to serve as a member of the House of Representatives and serve with honesty and integrity as exemplified by our family’s close friend, former Congressman Barber B. Conable Jr., I am confident that whoever is chosen to run will exhibit these attributes.

“It is crucial for the fate of our state and our country that this Congressional seat remains in Republican hands and I am confident that whoever should be elected this April will do a tremendous job representing us in Washington."

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