Hawley Announces Top 2008 Priorities, Hopes Governor Will Address These At State Of The State

Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s (R-I-C – Batavia) 2008 legislative priorities are centered around lowering the tax burden facing New York’s residents and businesses. His number one priority this year is reforming the state’s current property tax system to include more cuts and a tax cap. With Governor Spitzer’s State of the State address just hours away, Hawley is calling upon him to address this important issue in his speech.

“Year one is behind us and I am hopeful that the Governor will learn from his mistakes and start putting the top concerns of New Yorkers, especially those of us in Western New York, at the forefront of public policy,” said Hawley. “In particular, I hope the Governor will consider our ‘Property Taxpayers Protection Act’ and make reducing property taxes and other taxes among his top priorities.”

Hawley is a sponsor of the “Property Taxpayers Protection Act,” which is a comprehensive tax reform plan that would provide homeowners with meaningful tax relief by capping property taxes. The plan would also alleviate the local burden of Albany-imposed unfunded mandates and tackle the $4.5 billion in Medicaid fraud and abuse that continues to force localities to raise taxes.

In addition to calling on Spitzer to increase the property tax rebate check, Hawley also hopes the Governor will support measures to save taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars through cost-cutting initiatives in the property tax system, such as administering the program electronically to save New Yorkers $2.5 million in administrative fees and postage.

Hawley also hopes the Governor will address other forms of taxation affecting Western New York, including skyrocketing gasoline prices. Current state gasoline prices are a hefty $3.49 per gallon, with a large part of this price coming from state-imposed taxes. Hawley’s plan would cap the amount at which the state is allowed to tax gasoline at $1 per gallon and would ensure any collected revenues are solely used toward rebuilding and repairing New York’s roadways.

“New York’s current outrageously high property taxes, gasoline taxes, and business taxes are forcing residents and businesses to leave the state. This is not news. Unfortunately, in Albany these issues are not being taken seriously – meanwhile, the exodus continues,” stated Hawley.

The Assemblyman’s list of priorities also includes measures to attract and retain businesses in Western New York. In addition to programs that would lower taxes for businesses, Hawley stands behind legislation that would increase jobs through training and cooperative programs with area colleges, ensuring that New York’s brightest are able to stay in the state after graduating. Hawley also strongly supports measures to reform Wick’s Law, one of the state’s most costly mandates that has impaired business development.

“Outdated Albany mandates, like Wick’s Law, are killing New York’s future. Without reforming these old ways of doing business, our state will soon be out of business. We must make 2008 a year for real changes that will help the people and businesses of this state,” concluded Hawley.