We in the Assembly minority conference recently unveiled our comprehensive plan for dealing with issues facing New York in 2006. This legislative package known as “Restore New York” outlines numerous initiatives to create a better New York
I am particularly excited about the important proposals advanced in Restore New York. Our legislative package aims to provide opportunities to reduce the property tax burden, create and retain jobs, protect our families and neighborhoods, increase the level of education for all New Yorkers, and reform state government while improving the overall quality of life for our citizens.
Reducing the property tax burden placed on homeowners and businesses is essential to the growth and success of New York’s economy. Restore New York includes $1.75 billion in additional tax relief through the School Tax Relief (STAR) program, reforming Medicaid to eliminate $4.5 billion in annual waste and fraud, allowing residents to place caps on their municipal and school district tax levies, and creating incentives to help local governments become more effective.
Job creation and retention play vital roles in the success of our economy. That’s why I’m fighting for incentives to attract and retain small businesses and manufacturers, as well as reduce the cost of doing business throughout upstate New York. Couple that with incentives for farmers and you have the formula for a stronger upstate economy.
Our legislative package puts the heat on Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Assembly majority to strengthen laws that further protect our families and neighborhoods from sexual predators.
My Assembly minority colleagues and I are committed to ensuring all New Yorkers get equal chances at a quality education. I’m pushing proposals to improve student achievement in elementary and secondary schools, further enhance public accountability of school finances, provide a rational tuition policy for SUNY schools, and increase financial support for our libraries.
It is possible that 2006 can be the most successful legislative session in years. Presently, negotiations are proceeding well toward once again meeting the April 1 budget deadline. In addition, there is a great opportunity for moving New York forward in 2006 by adopting the “Restore New York” agenda. I will work hard to pass these key initiatives this year.