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Across New York State, families are having dinner table discussions about making ends meet, living in an uncertain economy that is stuck in recession and the struggle of finding a secure quality job with upward mobility.
Talking to many residents in Western New York, I am often asked the questions, how do we bring back jobs that have been lost over the years, and create new, quality private sector jobs? How can we get the economy moving in the right direction?
I understand the uncertainty and worry that people have. As the mother of 3 children, I want to leave them with a strong economy that will give them opportunities to be successful at any career they choose to pursue here in New York State.
Like you, I know that in order to ensure economic growth, both now and for our children’s future, we must truly change the way our state does business. We need to create a new culture in Albany that can compete with other states and offer employers a lower cost for doing business.
Economic Development – NY Open for Business
Job creation and economic recovery are my top priorities looking ahead to this next year, so how do we put people back to work and get the economy moving in the right direction?
It starts at the top; Governor Cuomo has promised $1 Billion to Western New York for economic development and job creation. I plan to hold the Governor accountable to his promise and make sure that funding is invested wisely and transparently. We have also learned from past experience that merely throwing money at a problem will only cure the symptoms but not the illness. We need to fundamentally change the way NY operates and does business.
Having two decades of personal experience creating jobs in Western New York, and throughout the Northeast, I’ve seen firsthand, what works, and what doesn’t in terms of government interaction with business.
From mom and pop corner stores to multinational corporations, New York State needs to support existing business and invite new enterprises to take advantage of all that our state has to offer. By implementing the regulatory reform, tax, fee and assessment reductions, and promoting business growth and expansion, we to allow business to do what it does best, create jobs and stimulate the economy.
If we are to take the Governor’s slogan of, “NY Open for Business” seriously, we need to first attack the issues that have plagued our small businesses for years, and deterred new industry coming to New York and utilizing the best work force in the county.
Reduce State Spending & Shrink the Size of Government
Like many other New York residents, I believe that New York State does not have a revenue problem; it has a severe spending problem. Our State has notoriously spent more on government agencies, employees and services than almost any other state in the country without hesitation or concern for the consequences of how that impacts taxpayers across the State, especially those in Upstate New York.
While the past two budget cycles our state government has started to return to reality and been able to operate within a self imposed 2% spending cap, there is still too much wasteful spending that is consistently overlooked by many members of the legislature.
It was an honor to be appointed by Governor Cuomo as the only Assembly Republican to serve on his Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission. Through SAGE, I have helped identify more than $600 million in savings for taxpayers – and the work is not yet done.
I have advocated for New York State to implement “LEAN” initiatives and have insisted that our government optimize State agencies, resources and programs, eliminate the duplication of services and streamline those services by eliminating layer upon layer of bureaucratic red tape. I believe that our state could cut a significant amount out of our budget and still provide the exact same amount of services to the people of our state, just through efficiency programs alone.
More specifically, examples of SAGE’s recommendations include the establishment of a centralized Human Resources Unit for all state agencies, rather than each agency having their own units. This proposal alone is estimated to save as much as $63 million by 2016. I am working very hard with the SAGE commission to implement these government efficiency programs.
The enacted 2012-13 State Budget took a number of important steps forward in terms of restoring our state’s economic stability. It is also the first full year of local governments operating within the 2% tax cap. The tax cap was put in place to not only control runaway government spending on a local level, but also to hold local governments accountable to the taxpayers of the community.
While Albany has taken action on these matters, it has yet to put into place measures that will alleviate our local communities, schools, small businesses and ultimately taxpayers from the substantial burden of unfunded mandates.
When our local governments have fewer expenses and are able to function without the burden of unfunded state mandates, less revenue will be needed to cover to costs of the services that are provided. When less revenue is needed, not only will it be easier to budget within the 2% tax cap, but taxes can be lowered on businesses in that community as well as the residents and more money will be in the pockets of taxpayers and small businesses and our economy will start to flourish because commerce and business transactions will be more frequent.
This past year, a number of local government and school districts were forced to make very difficult decisions and in some cases, were forced to exceed the tax cap, due in large part to the costs that are associated with unfunded state mandates. These mandates are in some cases strictly operational and often times obsolete. In other cases, these mandates discourage competition among private businesses that bid on government contracts; less competition drives up the costs of a project and that cost gets passed directly on to the taxpayers.
I oppose the implementation of any new mandates on our local governments, school districts and small businesses, and I am strongly advocating that a number of existing mandates be lifted off of the back of our municipalities.
Some of the Mandates that I feel are important to lift off of our local governments and private businesses are:
- Reforming the state’s Triborough Amendment and streamlining the tenured teacher disciplinary process to save time and money;
- Wicks Law has the potential to create an unfair, highly subjective and political process of contractor decisions. I understand that changes must to be made as soon as possible, which is why I have signed on as a Co-Sponsor to A.8447, which would repeal Wicks Law
- Establishing a statewide maximum healthcare contribution for school districts and BOCES;
- Allowing schools to leverage the aggregate purchasing power of large, national procurement cooperatives and contracts entered into by other states and local governments.
While I will continue working together with Governor Cuomo and his Mandate Relief Council on these, and other, unfunded mandate relief proposals, I will also continue to aggressively pursue legislative enactment of measures that help provide our schools, local governments and taxpayers with relief from costly and antiquated unfunded mandates.
Investment in New York State Energy Production
Hydraulic Fracturing a very emotional issue to many residents across New York State, no matter what side of the issue they fall on. The reality of both arguments boils down to the fact that allowing the drilling, if done properly, could potentially bring a multibillion dollar industry that would create hundreds of long term quality jobs all across New York State; however, if done improperly, the drilling could have severe negative consequences to our environment.
As the mother of 3 children, I want to leave them not only with a strong economy that will give them opportunities to be successful at any career they choose to pursue, but also an environment that is clean, healthy and does not pose a risk to their health.
The only way to ensure that Hydraulic Fracturing will not negatively affect our environment is to regulate the industry to the absolute maximum standards of safety, health and quality control. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has collected exorbitant amounts of data concerning what impact Hydraulic Fracturing would have on New York State.
I support a diversified energy policy that creates competition and gives New York State ratepayers the most efficient, clean and affordable energy possible. Having a diverse American produced energy portfolio will allow time to properly research, develop and maximize the use of renewable and clean energy sources, in addition to protecting residents and businesses across the state from unpredictable events that may spike certain energy commodity prices in the region or country. I also support clean energy initiatives that will ultimately create sustainable energy sources that will benefit our economy and environment for our children’s future.