The New York State Legislature has completed passage of an on-time budget for the second year in a row. Though it was another challenging budget, requiring the closure of a $3.5 billion deficit, we were able to balance the budget without tax increases or fiscal gimmickry. In addition, overall spending was reduced for the second straight year, the frist time this has happened in at least three decades.
I applaud the Common Council for moving legislation forward to create a city/county land bank. As the author of the state law, I am extremely encouraged that Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse will have the opportunity to be one of the first land banks in the state. Vacant and abandoned housing has been a problem in our communities for too long, and the application of this new strategy is a promising solution.
At present, there are three times as many people looking for employment than there are positions available. Beginning December 28th 2013, 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment benefits just three short days after Christmas.