James L. Seward's posts related to Budget

Time For Government Reform Overdue

Reform is a word that is tossed around a lot by elected officials.  By definition the word reform means to change and improve something by correcting faults – hard to argue with that concept.  Looking at our state government, certainly a few faults need to be corrected.  But simply saying you support reform, and making real improvements, are two different things

I have fought for a number of key reforms during my time in the state senate.  With my support, legislation has been approved to open up the state budget process, create a more transparent senate and clean up Albany.  Unfortunately, over the last two years, one party rule has dominated state government and many of the landmark reforms have been ignored.    

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State Budget Disappoints

Finally, after long last, a state budget has received approval in Albany.  The spending plan was adopted 125 days late but all of that extra time did nothing to help generate a budget that New Yorkers can be proud of.

For the second year in a row, Albany leaders thumbed their noses at the concept of transparency.  In direct violation of the 2007 Budget Reform Law, the governor, and leaders in the assembly and senate huddled behind closed doors to fabricate the $136 billion plan.  Instead of convening open, bi-partisan conference committees to negotiate spending in full view of the public, three men from New York City decided they knew best. 

File: 
New fee increases

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Economic Course Change Needed

Dead last.  Number 50 out of 50.  That’s where New York placed in the recently released ranking of state business climates by the non-partisan Tax Foundation.  The embarrassing showing is yet another example why the economy must be job one in Albany.

The Tax Foundation’s 2011 State Business Tax Climate Index (SBTCI) is a clear illustration of just how low New York has sunk when it comes to attracting new businesses and assisting those that already exist.  Cleary, those running the ship in Albany have steered far off course and run aground. 

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DOT Rest Stop Closures Threaten Public Safety

WORCESTER, 11/17/10 – Gathered at a rest area marked for closure, state Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I–Oneonta), Assemblyman Marc Butler (R/C/I-Newport) and Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R/C/I-Schoharie) announced today their opposition to a recent NYSDOT decision to shut down six highway rest areas.

“Weakening one of the few protective measures available to drivers on our roadways leaves all motorists, and in particular, truck drivers at risk,” said Senator Seward.  “While I understand the need to cut back in these tough fiscal times, I believe there are other areas that should be considered first.”

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DOT Rest Stop Closure Protest

WORCESTER, 11/17/10 - Senator James L. Seward joins fellow state lawmakers in protesting a recent NYSDOT decision to shut down six highway rest areas.

Senator Seward was joined by Assemblyman Marc Butler and Assemblyman Pete Lopez in calling on the governor and the DOT to rethink the closure plan and develop alternate cost-saving strategies that will keep the rest areas open, providing truck drivers and the motoring public with safe parking areas.

Others on hand included Hope Rivenburg, whose husband Jason Rivenburg, a truck driver from Schoharie County, was murdered at an abandoned gas station in South Carolina while resting in his rig.

Renewed Budget Transparency Needed

With Election Day now behind us and the political campaigns ended, it is time to get back to the people’s business.  Certainly, there is a great deal to be done.

New York State’s fiscal health must be considered a top priority.  While this is not a new revelation, it was reinforced by the latest spending and revenue report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.  According to the comptroller’s report, revenue for fiscal year 2010-2011 will be $943 million lower than expected and spending will be $288 million higher.  Simply put, the state budget doesn’t add up.

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Extreme Makeover New York

ONEONTA, 01/07/11 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I–Oneonta) today outlined his legislative agenda for the 2011 session of the New York State Senate.  Seward’s plan, dubbed “Extreme Makeover: New York” focuses on smart budget cuts, property tax relief, economic development and government reform.  

“New York is ready for a complete overhaul.  My ‘Extreme Makeover: New York’ initiative includes calculated cost cutting that will provide our state with financial stability, tax relief that will help people with their own bottom line, business stimulating actions aimed at jumpstarting job growth and government reforms to restore public confidence in Albany.

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Seward Appointed To Senate Finance Committee

ALBANY, 01/10/11 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) comments on his appointment to the senate finance committee.

As a member of the finance committee, Senator Seward will play a significant role in reviewing the governor’s proposed budget and developing a final spending plan. The finance committee will examine appropriations and disbursements for each agency included in the budget. In addition, the finance committee is responsible for reviewing nominations sent by the governor for appointments, and moving the nominations to the full senate. 

Seward Applauds Passage of Job Creation & Taxpayer Protection Act

ALBANY, 01/19/11 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I–Oneonta) today announced senate approval of the Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2011, a three-part plan to encourage the creation of new private sector jobs and ensure fiscal responsibility through the enactment of a two percent state spending cap and requiring a two-thirds “super majority” vote to raise taxes. 

“These job-creating, cost cutting measures are exactly what New Yorkers are demanding,” said Senator Seward.  “Approving these bills to open the 2011 session sends a clear message that the senate shares the priorities of the people and is taking firm action to turn these goals into reality.”

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2011 Job Creation & Taxpayer Protection Act

ALBANY, 01/19/11 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I–Oneonta) today announced senate approval of the Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2011, a three-part plan to encourage the creation of new private sector jobs and ensure fiscal responsibility through the enactment of a two percent state spending cap and requiring a two-thirds “super majority” vote to raise taxes. 

“These job-creating, cost cutting measures are exactly what New Yorkers are demanding,” said Senator Seward.  “Approving these bills to open the 2011 session sends a clear message that the senate shares the priorities of the people and is taking firm action to turn these goals into reality.”