We owe a great deal to the men and women of our armed services, as well as parents whose children were lost in the preservation of our freedom.
While state legislators recognize there are no perfect words or gestures to appropriately express our gratitude, we do try to recognize this sacrifice by making it easier for veterans to live and work in New York.
On this week's episode, Senator Griffo breaks down the budget - taxes, spending, education, Common Core, higher ed, health care, agriculture, transporation and ethics.
With I Love My Parks Day upcoming, Griffo explains what state legislators are doing for the environment and for state parks. And finally, the senator recaps a forum on heroin and opioid abuse that he recently hosted in Utica.
My colleagues and I have just passed a $138 billion state budget. It’s our fourth consecutive year we’ve delivered a spending plan on time, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished in nearly four decades.
There’s a lot in this budget that will impact those of us living in Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties. Instead of trying to explain it all in this column, I’m going to devote the next several weeks to detailing how certain parts are going to affect us, for better or worse.
First, I’d like to explain my votes.
I was recently asked: “Why do you vote for a budget that has bad stuff in it?”
I voted for this year’s state budget because it will provide more than $10 billion in tax relief for families and job creators, while creating no new taxes or fees.
This budget sets aside a record $3.4 billion to fully fund our state School Tax Relief Program (STAR) and Enhanced STAR for the benefit of middle-class families and seniors.
This budget also includes a $1.5 billion property tax freeze program that will help 2.8 million homeowners, including 1.7 million upstate. It rewards municipalities and school districts who hold the line on tax increases by sending property tax rebate checks to their residents.
Posted by Jude Seymour on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
ALBANY – Unshackle Upstate, a bipartisan coalition of business and trade organizations representing more than 700,000 companies, has given Sen. Joseph A. Griffo its third highest grade for his votes in the Senate supporting businesses and taxpayers this legislative session.
Griffo scored a 88 out of 100 possible points by the pro-business group. The organization gave the senator favorable marks for his ‘yes’ votes on a series of bills aimed at reducing regulations on businesses. In addition, the group applauded his support of the on-time state budget, as well as his sponsorship of two bills that would limit new taxes and protect businesses from illegitimate unemployment claims.
Recently, a French bank named BNP Paribas admitted laundering $190 billion through financial institutions in our state. The money was originating in Sudan and Iran, two countries blacklisted by ours for their support of terrorist organizations.
The bank is paying a huge fine - $8.9 billion – for its crimes. Our state is receiving $3.6 billion from the settlement. It’s one of five financial settlements that will, together, bring in $4.2 billion in unexpected revenue in the 2015 fiscal year.
New York has the dubious distinction of ranking dead last among the 50 states in a survey of business tax climates. The governor’s initiative, START-UP NY, represented an out-of-the-box approach to lure jobs here.
However, we simply cannot earmark all of our tax breaks, credits and incentives for new businesses. The strength of an economy comes from existing business, and reducing their competitiveness to new companies can result in too many good jobs being lost.