The efforts of the legislature to work together and produce a stronger and more fiscally responsible New York State during the past Legislative Session have set the stage to return New York to “The Empire State”. This past session was one of the most productive and cooperative in many years, with legislators on both sides of the aisle working together to bring much-needed relief to taxpayers across the state. I am proud of our spirited floor debates, common-sense legislation and drive to improve New York for our citizens, small businesses, local governments and schools.
During the 2011-12 Legislative Session, we oversaw the implementation of two on-time and balanced state budgets that kept government spending below the rate of inflation. The enactment of a two-percent property tax cap was an important first step toward providing relief to homeowners struggling with ever-increasing tax bills.
Additionally, initial steps were taken toward much-needed mandate relief, including transferring the increase in the local share of Medicaid and responsibility for its administration to the state, adopting crucial pension reform, and passing meaningful income tax relief for New Yorkers. We also took significant steps toward government ethics reform by enacting the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011.
The expansion of our DNA databank now requires a DNA sample from every person convicted of a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor; this will be an invaluable asset to our law enforcement officials in fighting crime across the state. Legislation addressing bullying and cyber-bullying in public schools will create a safer and more positive learning environment for our students.
We have accomplished a great deal but have much left to do. We must now turn our focus to the continuing unfunded mandate crisis and work to continue to improve the economy. Local governments, small businesses and school districts across our state continue to suffer under these crippling mandates, and without effective relief, serious cuts to discretionary services may be inevitable. We cannot allow this growing problem to be pushed aside any longer, and I will continue to fight for these necessary changes. We also must continue to work toward truly making New York “Open for Business,” which will strengthen the economy by providing increasing job opportunities across the state.
Those with questions or concerns may contact my Fort Edward office at 518-747-7098 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.