Governor Eliot Spitzer
Dear Governor Spitzer:
As the 231st session of our State Legislature draws near, I thought it appropriate to outline some priorities that - in concert with the respective Conference leaders in both the Assembly and Senate - we should begin discussing. These priorities touch on what I am sure you would agree are critical areas, constituting a comprehensive agenda for the betterment of all New Yorkers.
First, there is a clear and compelling need to provide immediate tax relief for New York's overtaxed homeowners and small businesses. Taxes in our state are still too high, making it harder for working families and individuals on fixed incomes to afford living here. High taxes put New York's business community at a tremendous competitive disadvantage with low-tax states. While we have seen some important progress in reducing our state's tax burden, more work remains in the area of delivering real tax relief, especially in the area of property taxes.
Second, we must revitalize, renew and rebuild our economy, especially Upstate and Long Island. Cutting bureaucratic red tape, nurturing our burgeoning high-tech industries and entrepreneurs, making strategic investments in education and showing companies that New York state "means business" - and is thus a terrific place to invest - are priorities deserving of our consideration. I believe that when it comes to growing our economy, the end goal must be ensuring that every New Yorker who wants a job can find one. Immediately addressing the future of New York racing must be part of this discussion.
Third, affirming government's most basic - and important - obligation: protecting the safety and security of its citizens. Efforts in this regard include passage of legislation that would expand New York's DNA database, enact the "Chronic Criminal Act," and crackdown on sexual predators that target innocent children by using the Internet or through other means.
Throughout this Legislative Session, it is my hope that we can move beyond any barriers to progress and work toward common ground that improves the quality of life for the millions of New Yorkers we represent. They are counting on us and deserve real progress.
On behalf of our Assembly Minority Conference, allow me to express a genuine confidence that this goal will be achieved and, in the process, make the 2008 legislative session the most productive and least acrimonious in recent memory. We stand ready to work with you, Majority Leader Bruno, Speaker Silver and Minority Leader Smith, in realizing this critical aspiration.
Accordingly, I ask that you immediately convene open and transparent meetings of the Legislative Leadership to expedite discussions of these and other issues which have not received the appropriate attention thus far this year. It is my hope these meetings begin as early as next week.
CC: Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith