In his State of the State address this week, Governor Spitzer reiterated many ideas that my conference and I have supported for years. Two of the items discussed, property tax reductions and education reform, are among the top issues on my agenda for the upcoming session.
Property tax reform has been, and will continue to be my top priority. New York Stateís out of control property tax rates are driving young people and seniors alike out of our state. Residents of Long Island face some of the highest property tax rates in the country, making it difficult to afford to live in our region. My conference members and I have repeatedly introduced legislation to help alleviate the burden felt by so many New Yorkers, only to be shot down time and time again by Speaker Silver.
Another topic covered by Governor Spitzer was the need for education reform. A recent study released by Education Week magazine stated that New York ranks only 18th among the states and District of Columbia regarding opportunities for children to lead a successful life. To help reverse this trend, I will support a new transparent school funding formula and will work to create smaller classes and readily available Internet libraries.
Governmental business conducted in Albany needs to be reformed, becoming more transparent, in order to better serve the needs of those on Long Island and statewide. In order to do so, we need to embrace change, not resist it.
I am encouraged by many of Governor Spitzerís ideas, and I promise to start this session off where we ended last session. If we can work together for a common cause then we can make Long Island and our entire state the best place it can possibly be.
It remains to be seen if all of these ideas will be acted upon. It is my desire to work with the Governor to reform New York. However, we need strong leadership and sacrifice to make these things happen. I am hoping that we as a legislature can work together for the people of New York.