Hawley’s Albany Update

’07 session left with unfinished business
July 2, 2007

The 2007 Legislative Session was highlighted by the passage of several bills that my conference has championed for several years, though we left Albany with a great deal of unfinished business.

I am very pleased with some of the progress we made in delivering civil confinement, workers’ compensation reform, budget reform, and assistance for dairy farmers. However, as property taxes continue to place unrealistic burdens on Western New York homeowners and with jobs leaving for states with lower operating costs, little was done to address these important areas of need.

Furthermore, I voted against a Wicks Law reform bill that does little to change its antiquated policies as it disregards the needs of upstate businesses. The new threshold amounts established by the bill leaves me with the impression that the governor and the Assembly speaker would prefer to divide New York into three distinct states – New York City, Long Island, and the rest of the state in regards to Wicks reform. To that I say, bring it on, we would be far better off!

At the start of this year’s session, perhaps because of the excitement surrounding the election of a new governor who promised change on ‘day one’, important bills that have long stalled in the Assembly finally were brought to a vote and passed. It appeared that the Albany status quo was changing and productivity would highlight 2007.

By session’s end, it became clear that partisanship would reign supreme as, yet again, Assembly leadership failed to bring meaningful property tax relief, upstate economic development, and Wicks reform to the millions of New Yorkers affected by these issues.

It is truly disappointing to see such a lack of productivity among elected officials. I hope to see a special session called in the coming weeks to address the numerous issues that were left unresolved.