On Tuesday afternoon, July 12, Senator Jack M. Martins spent the afternoon with the Gloria Dei Independent Seniors of New Hyde Park at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church.
The group meets every Tuesday for a luncheon and to discuss issues that are important to seniors and the community. Senator Martins was happy to visit and to discuss this past Legislative session Albany.
With the Legislature out of session for the summer, Senator Martins has the opportunity to let people know about the changes that took place in New York State. This past legislative session saw dramatic change in Albany. For example, the state budget process saw bi-partisan efforts to get New York back on the right fiscal path. The Senate worked with the Governor to pass an on-time budget that closed a $10 billion deficit by cutting spending without raising any taxes or fees. The budget represents a significant change from past practices of the state spending beyond its means.
Senator Martins also spoke about the 2 percent tax cap that was implemented when the Governor recently signed it into law. The tax cap was supported by Senator Martins as a way to slow the growth of property taxes as our economy recovers from a recession.
Senator Martins fielded questions from the seniors. One topic of discussion was how the school districts will meet the cap in light of escalating costs. Senator Martins explained that all levels of government have had to make tough decisions with regards to their budgets because the residents of Long Island simply cannot afford to pay more. Senator Martins also explained that the tax cap can be used as a guide when boards of education negotiate contracts with unions.
In addition, there are efforts underway to provide relief from mandates handed down by the state on school districts and local governments. As part of the tax cap, Senator Martins pushed for the creation of the Mandate Relief Council. The council is responsible for reviewing state mandates in an effort to eliminate ones that prove to be unnecessary. The council is being created as part of the tax cap law.
“I was happy to visit with the Gloria Dei Independent Seniors. They are a great group and we had an insightful discussion. It’s important for me to meet with as many of our residents as I can so that I gain their perspective. This was a great opportunity to share thoughts and I thank them for having me. I look forward to going back to continue the discussion,” Senator Martins said.