Hawley’s Albany Update

Town hall meetings bring out constituents, ideas
April 25, 2007

Fundamental to an effective democracy is active participation from the people. This past weekend, I was delighted to see so many constituents at my four town hall meetings throughout the 139th Assembly District where we discussed many important topics and shared ideas for a better state government and Western New York.

What makes my job as your assemblyman very rewarding and equally challenging are the discussions we have at events like town hall meetings. Without question, the constituents of my district are the most knowledgeable and well-prepared citizens in New York when it comes to issues that most affect our state.

On Saturday, I saw over 100 constituents during my town hall meetings in Somerset, Kendall, Lyndonville, and Carlton. The overwhelming turnout displayed to me a true sense of commitment to your hometowns and general concern for the future of Western New York.

During those meetings, we discussed issues from property tax relief to flooding problems to effective governing and everything in between.

Many of you expressed concern over the amount you will see in your property tax rebate check this year. I want you to know that I share your concerns.

It is undisputed that residents are over-taxed. Sending an overburdened homeowner a pittance of a couple hundred dollars and then hail it as some sort of meaningful property tax relief is not only unfair, it is dishonest.

Homeowners would see greater savings by subtracting the actual property tax savings from the gross amount and paying the difference. We could have a larger tax savings for property owners this way.

In addition, last year's rebate checks cost $1 million for postage alone and another $1.3 million in administrative costs to send to homeowners. That $2.3 million should have been returned to overburdened taxpayers; instead, it serves as another example of wasted taxpayer money.

Kendall residents raised concerns over damage caused by extensive flooding. At this point, I can tell you that I am working with local officials to remedy the problem and make sure that your lives go on as uninterrupted as possible in spite of the flooding.

The town hall meetings were a great experience for me and I am looking forward to meeting many more residents as the series moves to other locations throughout the year. Since my first day as your assemblyman, I have promised to be accessible and responsive to all your concerns and ideas. I take my responsibilities as your elected representative very seriously and look forward to continued discussions with each of you as we work together for a better New York.