Approximately one month from today, the New York State Legislature will convene for its 235th Legislative Session. Members from the Assembly and Senate will return to Albany during the first week of January for the opening day of Session and for Governor Cuomo’s annual State of the State Address delivered to all New Yorkers. I will be in Albany to hear what Governor Cuomo has to say and look forward to continuing to partner with him, my fellow Legislative Leaders, colleagues and anyone else who shares my commitment to improving the quality of life here in the Empire State.
NEW SESSION OFFERS THE PROMISE OF RENEWAL
The start of a new Legislative Session brings with it the promise of renewal and another opportunity to make New York State the place we all want it to be and, more importantly, the place we know it can be. The energy, enthusiasm and spirit of bipartisan cooperation to get things done for the people we collectively serve makes the kick-off of Session a truly special and productive time. Frankly, we need that same can-do spirit and willingness to work together to extend throughout the entire Legislative Session.
READY TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING!
Every Session is unique, presenting its own challenges and opportunities for policymakers from each of the respective Legislative Conferences to offer real solutions that will solve New York’s problems. 2012 will be no different as we work to close another multi-billion dollar budget deficit – as much as $3.46 billion, according to our Conference’s projections – and continue our efforts to jumpstart New York’s lagging economy, while extending prosperity and opportunity for all our citizens. I am ready to hit the ground running and build upon all the successes from the 2011 Legislative Session!
BUILDING ON THE 2011 LEGISLATIVE SESSION’S MANY SUCCESSES
In case you forgot, some of the many successes from the previous – and historic – Legislative Session included items that had long been stuck on Albany’s proverbial backburner. Highlights of what we were able to accomplish included our taking the first step toward delivering real property tax relief, passing an on-time State Budget that closed a $10 billion shortfall, and beginning the effort to rightsize state government and reduce its crushing costs to taxpayers.
POLICY PRIORITY FOR 2012: ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR THE EMPIRE STATE
The centerpiece of my 2012 legislative agenda will focus on economic growth – cutting spending is simply not enough; we need to GROW New York’s economy to get the more than 700,000 unemployed individuals back on the job. My goal is to grow the private sector by getting government out of job creators’ way. This includes cutting job-killing red tape and curtailing regulations so our state becomes a more competitive place to start and operate a business.
RETURN NEW YORK TO A NATIONAL LEADER FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH
Based on my 25 years of proven private sector experience, I know New York can return to its rightful place as a national leader for economic growth and a private sector economy that is the envy of the 49 other states. We can accomplish these goals by forging smart private-public sector partnerships while streamlining costly and outdated government bureaucracy. Here are a few policy specifics that will be important parts of my 2012 policy agenda:
- Enact a state spending cap based on changes in the Consumer Price Index;
- Ban ALL new unfunded state mandates and suspend existing unfunded mandates unrelated to health and safety;
- Continue forging new private-public partnerships by building on initiatives such as the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils;
- Restructure, reform and repair New York’s Medicaid program which has grown into the nation’s costliest;
- Conduct greater oversight of State Agencies to ensure they are not acting as roadblocks to private sector job creators;
- Fix New York’s tax code so it is simpler, fairer and flatter for everyone; and
- Implement private sector “best practices” such as Six Sigma to transform state government so it operates leaner, smarter and delivers better customer service.
If we set aside political partisanship, 2012 will be the year we transform New York into a national destination for more Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and entrepreneurs to invest in and expand their operations. Economic growth will be good for job creators, good for taxpayers and good for New York State!
COMING SOON – 2011: THE YEAR IN REVIEW, PART I
For next week’s column, as is customary every December, I will prepare the first of a special two-part series looking back at 2011 and the “year that was,” highlighting some of the main focal points from the previous Legislative Session and intervening months. So be sure to look for “2011: The Year in Review, Part I” beginning next week!
As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic, or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at email@example.com.