Albany, NY 12248
In less than two months, state legislators will return to Albany for session and there is much work to be done. When downstate leaders adjourned session last June, there were numerous pressing issues that were left unaddressed, including property tax and entitlement reform, debt reduction, and deficit spending.
It’s imperative we take quick action to resolve these issues.
My first year in office has been rewarding and it’s been my honor to represent you in the State Assembly. I’ve enjoyed traveling the district and speaking directly with residents, learning your opinions, listening to your concerns and hearing your ideas to reform state government.
This newsletter will help update you on what’s been occurring within the community and state government over the past year. I hope it’s helpful. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my district office at 747-7098.
Member of Assembly
That’s why earlier this year, I joined in a bipartisan effort by members of the Senate, Assembly, and the Omnibus Consortium - a coalition of property tax reform groups and fiscal watchdogs - to advocate for the adoption of a “circuit breaker. ” This would help offset rising property tax bills that have left many middle-class and senior citizens on a fixed income desperate for relief.
The “circuit breaker” bill, A.8702, would provide overburdened homeowners with a tax credit worth up to 70% of the amount that a household’s property tax bill exceeds a reasonable percentage of the homeowner’s income. Renters who pay property taxes through their rent would also be eligible for the tax relief, and this bill does not discriminate based on geographic location. The law, if enacted, would be phased in over a four-year period. By shifting costs from local governments to the state, the “circuit breaker” would reduce the strain on local budgets and reduce the need to raise property taxes.
Seniors, particularly those living on a fixed income, have been hit hard in recent years due to ever increasing home values and out-of-control state spending. As home values and spending increase, so have property tax bills. A “circuit breaker” would provide effective and targeted relief to those homeowners who need it most. But this is only the first step. Over the next year, we will continue to work to adopt new measures to enforce local accountability and rein in other cost factors, including wasteful state spending and unfunded mandates.
New York state finances are spiraling out of control, the result of decades of mismanagement and careless tax-and-spend fiscal policy. With debt standing at over $50 billion, record annual budget spending increases, high taxes and growing entitlements, it’s clear the state must reverse course or risk placing future generations into inescapable financial doldrums.
State government has dragged its feet for far too long. The status quo is simply not acceptable. Businesses are relocating out of state, our college graduates are starting careers elsewhere and average families are struggling to make ends meet, for a reason. Taxing, spending and borrowing has destroyed jobs, increased costs, discouraged entrepreneurship, and left our state on the brink of bankruptcy.
We will not be able to fix our problems overnight, but by rethinking our approach, we can take essential steps to securing New York’s future.
Capping and reducing state spending
Requiring a super-majority (2/3) vote to raise taxes, impose, or revive an existing tax
Requiring any ballot proposition that authorizes state debt to include information on both the principal and interest that would be incurred by taxpayers (Truth in Borrowing)
Banning borrowing without voter approval, while requiring that ten percent of any budget surplus be used to decrease the state’s debt
In June, despite our strong opposition, the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act passed the Assembly. The bill, A.1867, if it were to become law, would punish the very workers it seeks to help and harm the state’s agricultural industry, possibly signaling the end of the family farm in New York. Due in part to our strong opposition and the opposition of family farms and the workers this bill seeks to protect, it has yet to pass into law.
Under this bill, New York’s family farms would have to pay time-and-a-half for hours worked in excess of eight hours per day as opposed to hours-per-week like every other industry. In addition, farmers would be required to allow farm workers one day off per week, even during the labor-intensive season. It simply fails to recognize the unique qualities of agriculture.
Farming is considered an industry with a very small window of opportunity for completing work. Crops are lost each year due to a lack of labor, weather and other controlled and uncontrolled conditions. Mandating that farms relinquish one day a week of labor will result in lost produce and increased costs, placing additional strain on an industry already suffering.
New York’s farms do not just compete with other local farms, they compete with farms across the country and internationally. Increasing the cost of production along with all the other regulatory burdens and the cost of doing business in New York State will make farms non-competitive. Farms simply cannot afford to pay even more, especially with a populace that expects low food prices. Onerous state regulations played a large role in the decline of the manufacturing industry in our state. We can’t allow our family farms to suffer the same fate.
In June, Assemblyman Tony Jordan (R,C-Jackson) and colleagues from the Assembly Minority Conference met with representatives from the state’s leading correction officer associations to gather input on how to improve working conditions, safety, and operations within New York’s correctional facilities. Representatives from the New York State Correction Officers, Police Benevolent Association, and the Public Employees Federation attended the Assembly Minority Statewide Forum on Workforce Issues in the Correctional System.
The issues surrounding correctional facilities took on increased importance within the 112th Assembly District in recent months after it was announced that Camp McGregor would be shut down. Minimum-security facilities, like Camp McGregor, combat recidivism by providing programs designed to assist inmates in preparing to live in the general population.
In terms of public-private sector partnerships, the $4.29 billion investment made to bring Global Foundries, a world leader in advanced micro-technology, is one of the more important partnerships in the history of our state. The high-tech semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility at Luther Forest Technology Park will provide an immediate spark to our regional economy, create almost 1,500 high-paying jobs, and generate around 5,000 indirect construction jobs within our local community.
High water costs are a tremendous burden for Maltaville residents. There are several proposals on the table, which deserve objective appraisal, including accepting a private contract or allowing the Saratoga County Water Authority Board to sell water “at retail” to a Maltaville Water District, as the County Board recently approved. Before proceeding, it’s important that elected officials assess the merits of each proposal, including determining where funding for infrastructure will come from and how best to bring down the cost of each homeowner’s hook-up to a reasonable figure.
In April, Assemblyman Tony Jordan kicked off the beginning of his districtwide tour, including hosting five town hall meetings in Saratoga County.
The meetings were held at the Stillwater Town Hall, the Mechanicville Town Hall, the Wilton Town Hall, the Malta Town Hall and the Saratoga Town Hall in Schuylerville.
“These town hall events were a great opportunity to meet with residents and hear their ideas, learn about their concerns, and let them know that I’m fighting for them in Albany,” said Jordan. “It’s important that everyone knows my door is always open.”