January 5, 2021
From State Senator George Borrello:
“Allowing New Yorkers to order drinks ‘to-go’ from restaurants is a small life line to a hospitality industry devastated by bad state policy. Thousands of restaurants have closed permanently. New York’s businesses are burdened with huge increases in payroll costs, unemployment insurance, taxes and fees. All courtesy of Albany. That doesn’t sound business-friendly to me.
“The governor spoke about helping farmers, while ignoring warnings from farmers that decreasing the overtime threshold will devastate family farms in New York and drive farm workers out of state.
“She said we need to work together to beat the pandemic. I agree. But I heard nothing about building confidence and consensus to do that. Instead, her vaccine mandate forced the firing of hundreds of first responders and healthcare workers. These are people who risked their health and that of their families to protect us over the last two years.
“I’m glad the governor spoke about the need to improve our infrastructure. It’s certainly needed. But we need true infrastructure, roads and bridges, not social welfare programs disguised as infrastructure,” Sen. Borrello said. “And the best way to expand broadband is to remove state-imposed barriers like the fiber optic tax and unnecessary survey fees that spike the cost of broadband projects.
From Assemblywoman Majorie Byrnes:
“It was great to hear Gov. Hochul speak to so many of my priorities in her State of the State Address today. Specifically my efforts to promote workforce development and support farmers struggling with overtime expenses were addressed. I look forward to working with the governor to advance solutions on these pressing needs for our state as we restore the economy and ensure every New Yorkers has a path forward.
“This year’s budget must include appropriate resources for direct-care workers and the disability community to protect group homes from closures, jobs are not lost and people with disabilities have the best possible care close to their loved ones. I was happy to hear that Gov. Hochul shares this concern and wants to implement a $3,000 bonus for those providing direct care. This is a good start.
“Addressing our state’s exponentially growing mental health needs also must be a priority for the governor as we rebuild our state. While we all want to keep kids in school and appropriately protected, it is a shocking reality that suicide rates are up. Mental health resources in schools are desperately needed, as well as for veterans and the frontline workers who have been running on empty fighting the pandemic for the past two years. This is another area I will gladly be working together with the governor on, and I also hope she will extend the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Counseling Program, as part of this effort, to Livingston County in this year’s budget.”
From Assemblyman Phil Palmesano:
“Gov. Hochul delivered the annual State of the State Address today. I hope for and expect more specific details about her agenda when she presents her Executive Budget proposal later this month. Unfortunately, many issues plaguing our communities were just glossed over or not mentioned at all. Prices are increasing on everything from gas to groceries, inflation is out of control, crime is going unchecked as people do not feel safe in their neighborhoods and mandates are being handed down unilaterally with no consultation or approval from the Legislature.
“My Minority Conference colleagues and I have introduced legislation that will directly address the issues we face. Our Inflation Relief and Consumer Assistance Plan (A.8481) would put hard-earned dollars back into your pockets by slashing sales taxes for two years. The plan would bring immediate relief at the pump, on grocery bills and home costs.
“Our Restore Order Anti-Crime initiative would keep violent criminals off the streets. Out-of-control ‘bail reform’ laws are putting offenders back on the streets where they are re-offending. We need to give judicial discretion back to our judges with respect to bail. The initiative also requires a unanimous vote from the parole board when considering early release.
“It is also imperative that legislation (A.7524A) be passed to provide a full, transparent and detailed true cost-benefit analysis of the Community Leadership and Climate Protection Act (CLCPA) to show the public–families, farmers, small businesses, manufacturers, etc. what it will actually cost them in dollars and cents before fully implementing the CLCPA. The public deserves to know the true financial impact implementation of the CLCPA will have upon them, their families, our businesses and the economy as a whole.
“In addition to this common-sense legislation, we must make sure federal funding is distributed evenly throughout the state. Infrastructure in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions must be given the same attention as infrastructure downstate, such as the MTA.
“We must also make sure we are fighting on behalf of our most vulnerable New Yorkers – individuals with developmental disabilities. The pandemic has hit this community especially hard and their care, services, quality of life and the direct-support professionals who care for them will continue to be a central focus of mine and must be a top priority for the Legislature this session.
“It is time that we work together to find common-sense solutions. New Yorkers are fleeing the state due to tax-and-spend policies, unchecked crime and unilateral mandates from the governor’s office. I am proud to offer solutions to these problems and hope the governor will work with us in a bipartisan manner for the benefit of all New Yorkers.”
From State Senator Tom O’Mara:
State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) responded to Governor Kathy Hochul’s inaugural State of the State message to the Legislature today by warning that state leaders could be eyeing long-term plans for higher and higher state spending that, in the long run, will require higher and higher taxes, more state borrowing, and an unsustainable debt burden for future generations of state and local taxpayers.
O’Mara cautioned that the vision that Hochul and legislative leaders are laying out for the future of New York could spell even harder times ahead for state and local taxpayers, small businesses and manufacturers, and already hard-pressed upstate communities, economies, and workers.
O’Mara said, “State government is still largely being driven by Hochul executive order and that needs to end as soon as possible. First and foremost, the Legislature needs to reclaim its decision-making authority for this critical legislative session ahead of us. I have stressed throughout the COVID-19 response over the past two years that we need an open and full discussion on the best ways to move forward for this entire state, upstate and downstate. It requires a restructuring of New York government, strengthening the state-local partnership, and getting to work rebuilding New York with the right priorities and long-overdue commonsense reforms, especially fiscal responsibility. Right now what I’m hearing from Governor Hochul and legislative leaders is setting the stage for an ongoing spending spree in the years ahead. That’s going to demand more and more revenue, including higher taxes and more borrowing.”
O’Mara added that he looks forward to joining his Senate Republican colleagues throughout the new legislative session to put forth strategies to ensure that upstate regions don’t get left behind.
“The loudest alarm throughout the past decade is that New York State remains one of America’s highest-taxed, most expensive, most debt-ridden and overregulated states — with one of the worst business-friendly climates in the nation to boot,” O’Mara said. “Even after the hard road we’ve all been on, it’s mind-boggling that the governor and top legislative Democrats can still keep talking about bigger and bigger state government spending. One-party control of state government has already produced billions of dollars of short- and long-term spending requiring billions of dollars in new taxes, fees, and borrowing for future generations of state and local taxpayers. The short-term pursuit of their hard-left, extreme-liberal political agenda appears to be the priority over a long-term, sustainable future for upstate, middle-class communities, families, workers, and taxpayers.”
O’Mara and his Republican colleagues want to begin setting rebuilding priorities for post-coronavirus government in New York throughout the coming year and into the foreseeable future.
They are discussing and developing strategies for upstate’s post-coronavirus communities and economies focusing on several cornerstones including the steady reopening and rebuilding of increasing numbers of economic sectors, regulatory and tax reform, and mandate relief, among others.
O’Mara said, “New York remains one of the highest-taxed states in America. We are one of the most overregulated states in the nation. Our local governments and local property taxpayers continue to foot the bill for one of the country’s heaviest burdens of unfunded state mandates. Still, the so-called progressive vision does not emphasize broad-based, lower taxes for workers and employers. Nothing about the pitfalls of overregulation or the drain of unfunded state mandates on counties and local property taxpayers. What about the high cost of living that is driving people, especially young people, out of Upstate New York?”
O’Mara said that he would keep working with his legislative colleagues across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions to keep attention focused on unfunded state mandates, job-killing state regulations, and a state and local tax burden that hurts family budgets and keeps New York’s business climate one of the worst in the nation.
The next key benchmark arrives later this month when Hochul begins rolling out her 2022-2023 state budget proposal.
O’Mara will continue to serve as the Ranking Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee.
Watch Congressman Zeldin’s rebuttal here.
From Congressman Lee Zeldin: “Under the Cuomo-Hochul administration, punishing taxes and a skyrocketing cost of living, out-of-control crime, suffocating attacks on our freedom, and unending scandals resulted in New York leading the nation in residents fleeing. Unfortunately, New York’s current Governor Kathy Hochul and one-party rule in Albany have continued the attacks on your wallets, safety, freedoms, and kids’ education.
“We need political balance in Albany, we need to break the supermajority in the Assembly and Senate, and, equally as important, we need a geographic balance of power. Every New Yorker, no matter where they live, should feel like they have a voice and representation in our state capital.