Assemblymember Bronson: 2013 Legislative Session Continues to Move New York in the Right Direction

Together with Governor Cuomo, we got important things done this past legislative session that not only invest in our children’s future, but will boost our local economy, bring good-paying jobs to Monroe County and provide financial relief for our hardworking families. In addition, we raised the minimum wage, fought for equal rights and successfully restored vital funding to people with developmental disabilities.

In March, I helped pass the third consecutive on-time budget that follows through on our commitment to make life a little easier for our hardworking families. This year’s budget provides financial relief for Monroe County families by extending a middle-class personal income tax reduction for three more years, locking in the lowest rates in 60 years. In addition, we reduced energy taxes that will save customers $500 million by fiscal year 2017-18.

This year we raised the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour by 2016 to help provide a better quality of life for our struggling families. Raising the minimum wage was the right thing to do and this wage increase will also help to boost our local economy by putting money in the pockets of those who are most likely to spend it right here in our community.

Continuing my commitment to ensure that every child has access to a high quality education, I fought to make certain we passed a state budget that increased funding for our schools. This year’s state budget invests in our children’s future by providing a $19.2 million increase in funding for schools in the 138th Assembly, to preserve important educational programs and also help offset significant cuts and teacher layoffs. The budget also includes $25 million for full-day and half-day pre-kindergarten grants to allow for more full-day pre-K programs across the state and additional half-day pre-k slots.

New York’s community colleges are the gateway to a quality education for many young adults. Recognizing that, I helped pass a budget that increased base aid for our community colleges by $150 per-FTE student, which marks the second consecutive increase in community college base aid. This commitment to higher education will help make our community colleges such as MCC more affordable and keep the dream of a college education alive for so many of our students.

In another major accomplishment, I fought, and succeeded, to restore up to $90 million to the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in order to help non-profits who work with some of New York’s most vulnerable people. OPWDD-funded organizations provide life-changing services for those with developmental disabilities, helping them get the care and compassion they need to live a quality life. Restoring the funding for these OPWDD services is vital.

To foster job creation and attract new businesses we have made New York a friendlier place to do business. This year we created a tax credit for businesses that hire veterans to help those who have heroically served our country find good-paying jobs, renewed the inner-city youth employment program to give at-risk youth in Rochester a chance to gain valuable work experience and reduced the tax burden on manufacturing companies. We have also reformed the Workers’ Compensation program and Unemployment Insurance system which will immediately save businesses $446.5 million annually.

I have dedicated my life to fight for justice to ensure fairness for all people, regardless of age, race, gender, disability, gender expression and identity or sexual orientation. This year, the Assembly Majority proudly passed the governor’s omnibus 10-point Women’s Equality Act (A.8070) in its entirety, to ensure equal rights for all New Yorkers. I am proud to have voted to ensure equal pay, increase protection for women, and strengthen women’s health and reproductive rights. It’s unacceptable that the Senate did not vote on the governor’s Women’s Equality Act in its entirety, however, all is not lost and the fight will go on. I will continue to stand with the women of New York State in urging the Senate to vote on the 10-point act.

These are just some of the accomplishments of the 2013 legislative session, but there are many other achievements that must be noted. We passed the most comprehensive gun safety law in the country in order to save lives and increased penalties for repeat child abusers. In addition, both houses have passed legislation that I sponsored which would ensure central service technicians have the necessary training to perform their jobs at the highest level and prevent the spread of infection to keep our loved ones safe. Another bill I sponsored, which awaits the signing of the governor, would allow injured workers who would benefit from specialized medical treatment to receive treatment from qualified acupuncturists – so they can get the help they need to get back to work.

Our work for the people of New York continues on and I remain committed to getting this done for Monroe County’s hardworking families. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have at 244-5255 or via email at