George Winner's Blog entries

Business Friendly?

Many of us have been highly critical of the fact that New York's current leaders have not done nearly enough to focus on private-sector job development as one key way to help the state find its way out of this current economic crisis.

But don't just take our word for it, read the latest thoughts from the leader of the Empire State's largest business advocacy organization.

August 2, 2010
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Economic Development Road Map

A little-noticed report released in June by the New York State Economic Development Council (NYSEDC), Leadership for Jobs, reviews New York’s economic decline, discusses some of the key reasons for it, and offers a series of recommendations for turning it around.

We know all too well that New York is currently viewed as a business unfriendly state, whose reputation for overregulation and high taxation is off the charts.  We understand the nuts-and-bolts agenda that’s required – an agenda that must include lower business taxes, fewer job-killing regulations, and financial incentives that will lead to a better business climate.

July 12, 2010
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No New Taxes

Are we in for a repeat performance?

At least some of New York’s current leaders appear to be slowly but surely spinning out their case for higher taxes.

A new analysis by the Senate Minority Finance Committee (see a copy of this analysis attached below) has uncovered a list of new taxes and fees being, at least, talked about -- and it rivals the $8-billion-plus tax package enacted by Governor Paterson and legislative leaders last April.

So, yes, I remain concerned that they just refuse to understand that New York’s workers, families, and employers can’t take any more taxes.

File: 
NoNewTaxes.pdf

April 12, 2010
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Why No Public Negotiations?

We're beginning to hear the rumblings about a late state budget, which is exactly why many of us, over the past several weeks, have been calling for public negotiations over the final 2010-2011 state budget.

The fact is that legislative leaders are violating key elements of the state’s “Budget Reform Act of 2007,” which I myself helped develop and co-sponsored. 

The 2007 budget reform law established legal guidelines and timetables for the appointment of joint legislative budget conference committees to conduct public budget negotiations – all of which were ignored by legislative leaders last year and are being ignored again.

March 16, 2010
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Medicaid Fraud

I'm grateful to be serving as a member of the newly created Senate Republican Task Force on Medicaid Fraud to find out why state taxpayers continue to lose hundreds of millions of dollars to abuse, fraud, and waste in New York’s more than $50-billion Medicaid system.

The urgency of the state’s fiscal crisis demands a renewed focus on the fraud that has plagued the Medicaid system for years. 

It’s way past time to put in place a "zero tolerance" policy to combat the millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars being lost to Medicaid fraud and waste. 

February 5, 2010
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Spending Cap

It seems like common sense to many of us in New York government:  The first step toward fundamentally changing the way Albany does business is to limit state government's ability to spend taxpayer money.

But we've known for a long time that New York State has a spending problem.  It's nothing new.  Government critics have been saying it for years and, believe me, there's plenty of credit to go around for who's responsible.

January 13, 2010
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Dairy Crisis

I joined several of my upstate colleagues at the Capitol to conduct a public hearing on what I believe is one of the most critical issues facing our state today: the dairy crisis.

It’s been a whirlwind of a political year at the Capitol -- and it continues to be with the state facing a deep-rooted and serious budget deficit heading into 2010 – but we cannot let the powers-that-be in New York government lose sight of the overriding importance of doing anything and everything to save New York dairy farmers on the brink of collapse.

October 20, 2009
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Economy 2010

As our attention begins to turn again toward the beginning of the 2010 regular session of the New York State Legislature, it’s as good a time as any to start staking out the themes and priorities that need to dominate next year’s agenda.

For me, first and foremost, that’s going to mean the upstate economy.    

September 28, 2009
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A new Senate?

Early this morning at the Capitol, I joined my Democratic and Republican colleagues to enact far-reaching legislative reforms that fundamentally change the way the Senate does business.

These reforms take power away from legislative leaders and empower individual legislators from every region.  We've acted to open up the legislative process to greater public scrutiny, accountability, bipartisanship, cooperative action, effectiveness, and more reform than we've ever had in Albany.

July 16, 2009
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Rockefeller Drug Law Mistake?

You might recall that the 2009-2010 New York State budget included broad and controversial provisions to ease the 1970's-era Rockefeller drug laws.

While this action was taken despite my strong opposition and against the better judgement of many of my legislative colleagues, a new problem has surfaced and it's an issue that's going to get plenty of attention throughout the week ahead.

June 1, 2009
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Disappearing Farms

Can we stop it?

I'm talking about the perfect storm that's settling over New York's dairy industry.  Low milk prices being paid to farmers plus high operating costs plus a declining worldwide economy and other factors are combining to spell disaster for many state dairy farmers.

May 28, 2009
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Restore the Rebates

The elimination of New York’s two-year-old STAR property tax rebate program works against efforts to stimulate economic growth and arrives at the worst possible economic time for families and homeowners.

It was one of the most ill-timed actions taken as part of the 2009-2010 state budget recently enacted by Governor David Paterson and the Legislature’s Democratic leaders.

Families, seniors, and all homeowners have counted on these rebates to provide a little relief from today’s high costs and New York’s crushing property tax burden.

May 7, 2009
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