Barbara
Lifton

working for reform in Albany

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Dear Neighbor,

This year, the Legislature showed what can happen when it works together in a bipartisan manner to get results. The 2005 legislative session was a step in the right direction.

In 2006, I will continue focusing on what’s important to our families - creating good-paying jobs, providing quality education for our children, ensuring access to sound health care, and reducing the tax burden to help families keep more of their hard-earned money.

As always, I welcome your input. Please call my office at (607) 277-8030 or e-mail with any questions or concerns. Together we can get results.

Sincerely,
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Barbara Lifton
Member of Assembly
106 East Court St.
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 277-8030
Assemblywoman Lifton
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Lifton helps Assembly bring reform to New York State
A more open and accountable state government

The Assembly adopted many rules changes this past legislative session to make the People’s House more effective and responsive to New Yorkers.

Beginning next year, there will be gavel-to-gavel television coverage of the Assembly and Senate sessions. Similar to C-SPAN, New Yorkers across the state will be able to get a better understanding of state government.

Enacting historic reforms

The Assembly also passed meaningful reforms this year, several of which became law:

  • Lobbying reform - making billions of dollars spent on government contracts subject to more accountability and greater scrutiny (Ch. 1 of 2005)
  • Ethics reform - closing a loophole that allowed state employees to escape ethics investigations by simply leaving their jobs (Ch. 165 of 2005)
  • Public authorities reform - ensuring efficiency, openness and accountability for the state’s public authorities (A.9007, awaiting governor’s signature)
  • Empire Zone reform - ensuring that the Empire Zone program will better address the economically distressed communities it was designed to help and allowing for the creation of an Empire Zone in Tompkins County (Ch. 63 of 2005)
An on-time budget that provides for working families

This year’s historic, on-time state budget:

  • Caps Medicaid costs, saving Cortland and Tompkins counties $3.1 million in 2006 and $5.9 million in 2007 and reducing the tax burden, without losing essential services that working families depend on
  • Provides $5.1 million more than last year in state education aid for schools in Tompkins and Cortland counties to give children a quality education while keeping taxes in check
  • Allocates $2.9 million more statewide for school audits to better ensure that schools spend taxpayer dollars wisely
  • Provides $67,837 for the Finger Lakes library system
  • Rejects the governor’s proposed 50 percent cut to the Tuition Assistance Program, keeping college within reach for everyone
  • Restores community college aid to $115 per full-time equivalent student, providing Tompkins Cortland Community College with $333,500 more each year

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Fixing the state’s voting system

Assemblywoman Lifton is heavily involved in the implementation of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in New York. She helped pass legislation to provide voters with an electoral system that encourages voter participation and protects the integrity of the democratic process (Chs. 23, 24, 160, 179, 180 & 181 of 2005).

Lifton was also appointed to the Citizens’ Election Modernization Advisory Committee, a 12-member, bipartisan team assembled to review and make recommendations on which voting machines meet the requirements of HAVA and New York’s election law. She is working to ensure that voters will cast their ballots on machines that work reliably, accommodate people with disabilities and count votes accurately.

The state received $190 million in federal aid earmarked for new voting machines. Although the machines have to meet certain state and federal standards, counties will have the final decision about which ones to adopt. As a member of the advisory committee, Assemblywoman Lifton is working to try to ensure that counties have a real choice of voting machines and that decisions won’t be dictated by private companies.

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