Contact: Doug Finch (315) 781-2030
With a new year and a new legislative session set to start right after the holiday season, I wanted to send a big 'Thank You' to everyone who has shared their opinions, concerns and ideas with me and take time to reflect on the ways I have worked together with voters from my Assembly District. This year in Albany, I have spoken out - and voted - in favor of reforms that would create and maintain jobs, help keep our hard-working families and seniors in their houses and make our communities more affordable places to live.
THE "BAD" OLD DAYS - GOVERNANCE BY CRISIS
The days of tone-deaf politicians holding the reins in Albany may seem like so long ago. In reality, it was only a few short years ago that then-Governor Paterson signed a State Budget that increased spending by over 8 percent and raised taxes and fees over $8 billion. Then, adding insult to pocketbook injury, New York income tax refunds were delayed, payments to contractors were suspended and school districts were warned that Albany could not meet its obligations. Sadly, the list went on and on. Albany must never return to the broken status quo of gridlock, partisanship and dysfunction. I won't let it!
2012 - TURNING THE TIDE TOWARD A MORE PROSPEROUS NEW YORK
I felt very optimistic at the beginning of this year's legislative session and set my sights on building upon the many achievements we made in 2011. I have an open door policy at my district office in Geneva and really enjoy all the conversations I have with the constituents I represent, whether its my office or at one of my Town Hall or 'Koffee with Kolb' meetings held throughout my Assembly District. Certainly, I have heard all of you loud and clear. I spent this year's legislative session championing the reforms and policies that small businesses and families like yours have demanded. The good new is - it worked! Together, we have clearly moved New York state government toward greater accountability, transparency and responsiveness.
WORKING TOGETHER WITH YOU, FOR YOU, TO HELP OUR STATE SUCCEED
This year's legislative session reflected the priorities of Finger Lakes families: balance the checkbook, take a hard look at skyrocketing expenses, honor and protect those we love. Here is the proof. Together, we:
- Passed an on-time, fiscally responsible State Budget: This year's 2012-13 State Budget was adopted before the deadline and closed the $3.5 billion deficit while holding government spending under the rate of inflation;
- Stopped skyrocketing property taxes with Medicaid Mandate Cost Relief and Pension Reform;
- Invested in education by increasing community college base aid funding and State aid to school districts;
- Helped build New York's "Innovation Economy" by providing $250 million in capital funding to support computer chip technology expansion; and
- Protected New Yorkers by enacting the "Protection of People with Special Needs Act," prohibiting bullying and cyber-bullying in public schools and honoring the sacrifice of our veterans by prohibiting protests at veteran funeral services without a permit.
A PREVIEW OF WHAT IS ON MY AGENDA FOR 2013: MORE JOBS, LOWER TAXES, A STRONGER ECONOMY
I take my public service responsibilities very seriously, so I know that we still have a ways to go. In next year's session I will continue to stand up, speak out and make New York a good place to live, work and raise a family. I will continue to call for unfunded mandate reform, enacting a cap on state spending, Workers' Compensation reform, providing safe, reliable access to power for families and businesses, lowering taxes for the middle class and fostering New York's "innovation economy" through my "GrowNY" agenda for more jobs, a stronger economy and a more affordable New York. Our state may have turned a corner toward a brighter future, but our journey continues to ensure that our home lives up to its reputation as the Empire State.
NEXT WEEK: Exercise Your Right to Vote!
As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or e-mail me at email@example.com.