New York State Sen. David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) today announced more than $1 million in funding for Onondaga County’s Operation IIMPACT program. The $1,183,189 in funding comes from a pool of funds included in the State Budget for Operation IMPACT programs across the state. The statewide Operation IMPACT program bolsters crime-prevention operations in the 17 counties outside New York City. Total funding for Operation IMPACT in all 17 counties will be $17 million in 2007, up from $14.9 million in 2006.
Despite all the talk of unfinished business in Albany, there is one thing that is certain about the 2007 legislative session: when it comes to issues related to Agriculture, it has been an especially productive year. The most notable accomplishment was the Dairy Assistance Program, which directed $30 million in cash direct to the dairy farmers who were hit hard by unstable milk prices last year. The state reimbursed eligible dairy farmers for milk produced in 2006, up to 4.8 million pounds.
As the end of session nears, progress is being made daily on a host of issue important to Central New Yorkers.
Just last week I was involved in a leaders’ meeting, which included the Governor, the four legislative leaders and rank-and-file legislators, to discuss an extension of the power for jobs program.
The program, which helps deliver low cost power to manufacturers across our region, was scheduled to expire on June 30th of this year. I heard from many upstate manufacturers about the need to continue the program, and spoke about that at the leaders meeting.
There are very few among us that have not felt the terrible effects of cancer. That is why I and others make sure each year we participate in the local Relay for Life event, which is being held again this year at Oneida High School on June 9th and 10th.
Now there is something more we can do to help fight back against this terrible disease. The American Cancer Society’s Department of Epidemiology & Surveillance Research is looking to recruit 500,000 adults across the US and Puerto Rico for a Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3).
The introduction of the Medicare Part D program left many seniors concerned about how this new benefit would affect their coverage under EPIC, New York's Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program. When the plan was unveiled, I informed seniors that they did not have to choose between EPIC and Medicare Part D, but that the two programs work together.
This year, as part of the healthcare reform enacted in the budget, all EPIC enrollees will be required to enroll in Medicare Part D. The change affects about 25,000 seniors in Central New York.
When I speak to local government leaders across Central New York, the one common complaint I consistently hear is with the burden of unfunded and unnecessary state mandates. These mandates passed down by the state impose added costs for counties, cities, towns, villages and school districts alike, and undermine the ability of local leaders to deal with more pressing local problems.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Sen. David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) has joined with the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program in their "Peace of Mind" Campaign. This campaign is urging all women to get mammograms, because the best weapon we have against this deadly disease is early detection.
For more information and to locate an accredited mammography facility nearby, call the Adelphi Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline at 800-877-8077 or visit their website at www.adelphi.edu/nysbreastcancer.
Reform Day 2007 gives us a chance both to celebrate all that we have accomplished in recent months and to push forward ambitiously with the ongoing effort to make our state government more open, accessible and accountable. In the first four months of this year we adopted reforms in ethics and lobbying law, improved the school funding formula and passed solutions to a host of issues that had gone unresolved for too long, including workers' compensation and civil confinement.
Still, there is much more to be done when it comes to the reform agenda.
Last week, the New York State Legislature adopted a budget that reforms the education funding formula, reigns in Medicaid spending, enhances property tax rebates and supplies much needed relief for dairy farmers. Overall, it is a strong budget and yet another vital step on the road to a stronger economy.
For my entire tenure as a State Senator, I have spoken of the need for a better school funding formula.
Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) joined Sen. David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) for a tour of Morrisville State College with College President Ray Cross last week to discuss agriculture policy and to talk about ways to improve the economic outlook for Upstate farms.
State Senator David Valesky (D-Oneida) today praised legislation introduced by Senate Democrats to improve health care in medically-underserved communities, stimulate local economies by helping start-up businesses obtain health insurance and reduce the soaring costs of health care premiums by returning regulation of HMO rates to the State Insurance Department.
Sen. Valesky noted that Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) profits nearly doubled between 2001 and 2005, from $672 million to $1.3 billion, while HMO payment reimbursements decreased.
This past week a major obstacle to Upstate economic development was overcome with a new agreement to reform the workers’ compensation system. This agreement will cut cost for businesses, improve benefits for injured workers, and, I believe, drastically improve the economic future of New York State.
For the last decade, our state all but ignored its workers’ compensation system. That inaction translated into a system that provided the lowest weekly workers’ comp benefits in the Northeast while ranking among the highest in the nation in costs to employers.
"Governor Spitzer's inauguration address was a clear and defining moment in the battle to reform state government and to get Albany once again working for all New Yorkers.
In partnership with Eliot Spitzer and Lt. Governor David Paterson, I will continue to fight to improve Central New York's economy, make sure that our schools receive the funding that our children deserve, and to reverse out-of-control health care costs and property tax increases."
"I am reviewing the report issued by the Commission and have begun discussing its implications with local health care professionals, including SUNY Upstate Medical University President David Smith and Crouse Hospital CEO and President Paul Kronenberg.""I fully recognize the need to improve and streamline our state’s healthcare system, and that tough decisions must be made to do so.