Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt (R,I,C-Greenwood Lake) today outlined a list of legislative priorities that need to be addressed this legislative session and called on her colleagues to complete this “unfinished business,” which includes unfunded mandate relief, economic development and job creation, creation of an independent redistricting commission, and pension reform.
“We passed the budget and many people – even some inside Albany – think that means our business is done. It is not. There is much unfinished, yet necessary, business that we need to address and resolve and we must do so this legislative session,” said the assemblywoman.
On the top of Assemblywoman Rabbitt’s list is tackling the unfunded mandates that drive up costs for schools and local governments, and are a leading cause behind the state’s infamously high property taxes. She said, “All of these unfunded and antiquated mandates are forcing schools and local governments to spend their money in the least effective manner. The bulk of the money should be spent in the classroom and on vital community services – not on paperwork requirements and red tape for Albany.”
Tackling unfunded mandates also will help cut red tape for employers and spur job creation. For example, on Saturday, April 9, 2011 a new law went into effect that mandates businesses reorganize their payroll stubs and employee contracts. This unfunded mandate, which was pushed through by former Governor Paterson in December 2010, is being blasted by good government groups and business organizations as a “mountain of paperwork and red tape” that could cause even more employers to leave the state.
Assemblywoman Rabbitt said, “This law is just one example of the countless taxes, fees, paperwork requirements and other hoops we ask employers to jump through. In this economy, we should be doing everything in our power to put New Yorkers on a path to prosperity, to restore our economy and to employ the nearly 800,000 residents who are still without work. We must put an end to these business- killing mandates and taxes, including the MTA payroll tax, that are simply wrong for our residents, our economy and our state’s future.”
Another top priority for the assemblywoman is creation of an independent redistricting commission. She said, “Once a decade we have the opportunity to ensure New Yorkers have fair legislative districts and equal representation. However, as with many things in Albany, partisan politics are a real threat to this process. To alleviate that, I support and am pleased to sponsor any bill that creates an independent redistricting commission that will give New Yorkers fair and equal representation for the next ten years.”
Assemblywoman Rabbitt also is making reforming New York State’s retirement system a priority for this legislative session, stating, “This year we have a real opportunity to enact meaningful reforms that will benefit New Yorkers for generations. The state’s current pension system is bankrupting the state and mortgaging our future. However, the hardworking men and women of our state need and deserve to have retirement benefits waiting for them. Reforming the system now is the only solution to ensure our pension obligations are met without further compromising our future fiscal solvency.”
“We must tackle these important issues, this ‘unfinished business’, in order to supplement the positive steps taken as part of this year’s budget and deliver a future that lowers taxes, creates jobs and makes it affordable to live in New York for generations to come,” said the Assemblywoman.
NOTE: A video of Assemblywoman Rabbitt’s remarks can be watched by visiting her Facebook page or by clicking on the following link: