End of Session Brings Missed Opportunities

Legislative Column by Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (R,I,C,WF – Sag Harbor)
June 25, 2009
In the last week of the 2009 Legislative Session, I cannot help but be disappointed by all of the missed opportunities. We had a chance to pass legislation that would bring tax relief to the over-burdened residents of New York state. My colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference and I worked hard to sponsor legislation which would cap property taxes, reduce state spending and crack down on crime, but all of these bills were not allowed to come to the floor.

Our economy is in crisis and as elected officials we should be focusing on putting politics aside and working together for the benefit of our constituents. Unfortunately, as a result of the dysfunction in Albany the property tax cap was not passed, gas prices are again on the rise, chronic criminals are able to go free and there is no energy relief in sight.

I supported the following legislation, which never came to the floor:

  • (A.2596-B) would extend the statute of limitations in criminal and civil actions for certain sex offenses committed against a child less than eighteen years of age;
  • (A.8975) would cap state spending to the average rate of inflation of the previous three calendar years; and
  • (A.2796) would establish the New York State Property Taxpayer Protection Act. The measure would provide for real property tax reform and relief by relieving school districts of unfunded mandates, reducing county Medicaid costs, strengthening financial accountability over school tax dollars, promoting local government efficiency, and encouraging (at local option) insurance pooling.

Although these measures were not passed, several key pieces of legislation in which I supported were passed in the state Assembly including:

  • (A.6051-A) allows volunteer firefighters to operate fire trucks in their official job duties without a commercial driver’s license;
  • (A.8901-A) enacts the Green Jobs-Green New York Act of 2009 which promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation and the installation of clean energy technologies, to reduce energy consumption and costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support sustainable community development and to create green job opportunities; and
  • (A.1242-B) which allows any resident of the state to register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to receive e-mail notifications when a sex offender’s registration has been entered or updated.

I am proud of the accomplishments that we made this year in the Assembly, but I wish more could have been achieved. The MTA and LIPA should have been held accountable for their poor business tactics and wasteful government spending should have been eliminated. These issues and many more will be on my agenda for the upcoming 2010 legislative session. I am hopeful for the future and I will continue to work with my Assembly colleagues and work in support of what is in the best interest of Long Island.