Contact: Mike Fraser, office: (518) 455-3751/cell: (518) 859-8518
As we move into June, with only three weeks remaining in the 2017 session, there is much work to be done. Despite Gov. Cuomo's public declaration that all of the pressing, big-ticket items on this year's agenda were sufficiently addressed in the state budget, the Assembly Minority Conference respectfully disagrees. Our work is far from finished, especially considering New Yorkers are still struggling with one of the nation's highest tax burdens, worst business climates and the black cloud of corruption that plagues Albany remains unmitigated.
The state budget was unnecessarily packed with policy measures that have no business being in New York's annual fiscal plan. But it is misguided to presume these last days of session are anything other than critical.
WE MUST CONSIDER IMPORTANT REFORMS DOWN THE HOMESTRETCH
Over the coming weeks, the Legislature must consider measures that improve public safety, the economy and the overall quality of life for all New Yorkers, including:
- Passing Ethics Reforms: Enact term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs to curb the dangerous accumulation of power in Albany; create an independent ethics panel to replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics; and prohibit conflicts of interest in the award and distribution of state funds.
- Passing Brittany's Law: Create a registry of violent offenders convicted of felonies, allowing residents to identify potential threats to their families and loved ones. This would help combat domestic violence and provide New Yorkers with vital information about those living near their homes, schools and community centers.
- Passing Procurement & Economic Development Oversight: Establish an advisory committee comprised of the Comptroller, Attorney General and Budget Director to review lump-sum appropriations of $1 million or more; prohibit certain political contributions by individuals appointed to entities charged with distribution of discretionary state funds; and conduct a third-party, independent audit of all state-run economic development programs.
- Passing Small Business Assistance: Enact the Small Business Full Employment Act, which would give numerous tax credits to businesses. It would also allow for the creation of the Division of Regulatory Review & Economic Growth (D-RREG) and prohibit new unfunded mandates on local governments, school districts and small businesses.
- Passing Mandate Relief: Reduce property taxes by placing a permanent moratorium on new unfunded mandates that would cost more than $10,000 to a municipality or more than $1 million statewide.
These last days of session are precious commodities, and each is an opportunity to address the numerous problems plaguing New York. Now is the time to ramp up legislative activities and adopt strong, meaningful reforms. Simply coasting to the end, as the governor has suggested, serves no one.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or e-mail me at email@example.com.