Newsroom

Senator Griffo's Weekly Column #7: Protecting Tax Dollars In Welfare Programs

I believe one of government’s most important functions is to provide a helping hand to those who are working, but are still struggling to meet life expenses, such as food, rent, utility bills and household necessities.

Public assistance programs are funded through taxpayer dollars, so it’s in our best interest to ensure that the money is used for its intended purpose.

I have zero tolerance for recipients who abuse the welfare program by withdrawing cash from their Electronic Benefits Transfer card to pay for tobacco, alcohol, gambling and adult entertainment.

February 13, 2014
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Utica Observer-Dispatch editorial: Stop robbing bridge fund

"State Sen. Joseph Griffo is dead-on in his criticism of the state's ongoing raid on highway and bridge funds. Our infrastructure is a mess and requires every tax dollar and fee collected to make improvements. Our infrastructure is a mess and requires every tax dollar and fee collected to make improvements.

"And we second Griffo's call for legislation that will protect taxpayers' money and make sure it goes where it should."

Read the rest here

February 11, 2014
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Senator Griffo's Weekly Column #6: For Those About To RAK, We Salute You

Being kind is contagious.

Want proof? Look no farther than the Remsen Central School District.

This tight-knit district of about 400 students joined together recently to give native Erin Hamlin a sendoff worthy of a three-time Olympian.

Students waved homemade banners littered with encouraging messages and composed cheers, dance routines and even a rap in Hamlin’s honor.

The entire event – captured beautifully in a two-minute video – was, in the words of NBC Sports, “adorable.”

February 6, 2014
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Griffo: State Must Stop Raiding Highway & Bridge Fund

UTICA – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo today reiterated his objection to the state’s sweep of highway and bridge funds, following a state comptroller’s report that revealed just 22 percent of motorist taxes and fees are being used for capital construction project.

“Motorists paid $3.8 billion last year in state taxes and fees on travel-related items such as gas, vehicle licensing and rental cars. That money is supposed to go toward making bridges and highways safer,” said Griffo, R-Rome. “Instead, the money is being taken to pay for past borrowing as well as operating costs of state agencies – at the expense of our infrastructure.”

February 5, 2014
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Senator Griffo's Weekly Column #5: Changes to Sportsmen's Licenses

Attention sportsmen: Starting Feb. 1, New York is making changes to its hunting and fishing licenses, including reducing fees.

Gov. Cuomo proposed simplifying the licensing system during last year’s budget negotiations. I voted to support the proposal because I felt it would encourage more hunters, anglers and trappers – whether living here or out of state – to make use of New York’s great outdoors.

Here are some of the biggest changes you should know about:

January 30, 2014
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Senator Griffo Comments on PSC Freezing National Grid Rates to Help Customers

The Public Service Commission today announced it authorized National Grid to take immediate action to provide its customers with a $32 million temporary credit to offset an unprecedented increase in electric supply costs. The surges, expected in February, would result in bill spikes for upstate residential and small business customers. Read full release here. (This link opens a PDF file.)

Senator Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, issued the following statement in response:

January 29, 2014
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Your Voice with Senator Joe Griffo

Senator Griffo discusses the 2014 budget, economic growth, business incentives, education reform with host Julia Lilkendey.

January 29, 2014
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Senate Passes Bills to Help Flood Victims

UTICA – The New York State Senate has passed four bills aimed at improving response and providing relief to Mohawk Valley residents negatively impacted by flooding.

Senators who represent the Mohawk Valley – Joseph Griffo, James Seward and David Valesky – touted the bills at a news conference today at the State Office Building, Utica.

The package is:

January 29, 2014
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Griffo: Time is Running Out to Cure E.B.T. Abuse

UTICA – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo today called on the state Assembly to support legislation that would prevent New Yorkers from using public-assistance funds on alcohol, tobacco, gambling or strippers.“New York has just 30 days left to prove it has tried to curtail E.B.T. debit card fraud and abuse, or lose out on $120 million in federal funding for needy families,” said Griffo, R-Rome. “It’s important that we pass this legislation now, so that those on public assistance who play by the rules aren’t hurt.”Media reports and public documents have proved that E.B.T.

January 24, 2014
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9/11 Museum Should Be Free

UTICA – Sen. Joseph A. Griffo today criticized the Sept. 11 Memorial’s board of trustees for charging $24 to visit their newly erected museum.

“The Sept. 11 memorial and museum will be a place to honor the nearly 3,000 victims who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks and educate visitors on the impact this tragic event had on our city, our country and the world,” said Griffo. “I believe it’s important that everyone who wants to see the museum have an opportunity to do so.”

January 24, 2014
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Senator Griffo's Weekly Column #4: Be A Hero. Donate Blood.

With the new year upon us, here’s an easy resolution to make and keep: Be a hero and donate blood.

My suggestion requires no special powers or gadgets, but you still may get to save a damsel (or even a Don) in distress.

In one hour – the time it takes the watch an “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” episode  – you can donate enough to be a superstar in the lives of up to three people.

Who are these recipients?

They’re fighting cancer. Most of the 1.6 million people diagnosed last year will need regular blood transfusions during their chemotherapy.

January 23, 2014
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Senator Griffo Reacts to Governor Cuomo's 2014-15 Budget Address

Following Gov. Cuomo's budget unveiling, Sen. Joseph A. Griffo offered the following comment: 

“The governor’s budget starts off with a good premise. We’re going to control spending. We’re going to cut taxes. And we’re going to invest in economic opportunity and education.

“So now we’ll have the opportunity to delve into all these details, to examine the document, to moderate where we want to based on deliberations and some of the conversations with our constituents back home. There will be a number of hearings. But overall, I think we’re moving in the right direction and I’m encouraged by many of the elements that have funding.

January 22, 2014
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Statement from Senator Joseph A. Griffo Regarding Governor's Proposed Budget

Governor Cuomo has proposed a budget that controls state spending, cuts taxes and encourages private sector business growth, especially upstate. These have been my priorities during my tenure, so I’m pleased the governor has started us off on the right path.

Now the hard work begins.

During the next two months, we’ll examine all aspects of the governor’s proposal with a focus on the impact to people in Central and Northern New York.  We’ll also continue to advocate for our federal leaders to release $10 billion in realized Medicaid savings which is the lynchpin to a successful budget.

January 21, 2014
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Senator Griffo's Weekly Column #3: Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Jr. often witnessed the worst of the human condition, yet still saw reason to be optimistic.

Dr. King lived with honorable purpose, in a way that ensured his teachings about peace, faith and service would endure long after his death.

Many of us will pause from work to honor Dr. King, who would have turned 85 last week.

In times of great turmoil and tension, Dr. King’s call for passive disobedience rose above the rest. He rejected, as extreme, the belief that African Americans could only achieve equality through violent means. Dr. King urged his brethren to win hearts and minds through nonviolent measures, and remained steadfast in that philosophy even when facing great societal pressure.

January 20, 2014
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Senator Griffo Statement on Alcoa Announcement

"I’m disappointed to hear of Alcoa’s decision to close its remaining two potlines at the East Plant earlier than originally planned. My hope is that the company takes advantage of state and federal programs to help its affected workers transition to new jobs within or outside the organization. My office stands ready to assist anyone who is left without adequate employment as a result of this decision.

January 15, 2014
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Griffo to Governor: Let's Cut Red Tape Together

UTICA –  Joseph A. Griffo today applauded his Senate colleagues for identifying more than 2,200 regulations that, if eliminated, could produce 20,000 new private sector jobs.

“Businesses in New York spend an estimated $274 billion annually to comply with our state’s 750,000 regulations. Frankly, this sort of comprehensive review was long overdue,” said Sen. Griffo, R-Rome.

January 15, 2014
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Senator Griffo Speaks in Support of "Jobs For Heroes" Bill

“I am pleased to represent so many veterans who serve at Fort Drum. My goals is to keep as many of these skilled, knowledgeable people in my district after their military service is finished. I support this legislation because it offers a real opportunity for those with a service-connected disability to start a second career here. I am pleased to again support Senator Ball’s legislation and I commend Governor Cuomo for recently speaking out in support of this bill. Hopefully, this is the year New York joins the federal government and 40 other states in offering a helping hand to these small business owners.” - Senator Joseph A. Griffo

January 14, 2014
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Sen. Griffo Appears on WUTQ's "Talk of the Town"

Sen. Joseph Griffo joined Mark and Frank on the WUTQ 100.7FM's "Talk of the Town" morning show to discuss the State of the State. You can listen to the full interview on WUTQ's website.

The senator's initial thoughts are below.

"I thought it, overall, had broad themes about the agenda for the year. I thought there were some exciting and interesting proposals and initiatives that the governor is advancing. In two weeks, on the 21st of January, he will detail some of these initiatives when he gives his budget address. So that will be very important – so we have an opportunity to examine and delve into this.

January 10, 2014
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Senator Griffo Reacts to Governor Cuomo's State of the State Message

"I thought this was an interesting speech - a lot of exciting initiatives and ideas that have been proposed, mainly focusing on jobs, our economy and tax relief, investing in education. Paying attention to the needs of upstate New York - particularly Central New York and the north country is going to be very important - looking at helping regulatory reform and zero tax for small manufacturers. The I-98 proposal being considered in the north country is, I think, going to be very important. Finally, we get the study. Because transportation is a significant part of economic development.

"So, overall, a lot of ideas and initiatives that are worthy of our consideration and examination. And when the budget comes out, we'll delve into this all. I'm hoping for a successful session."

January 9, 2014
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Sen. Joseph A. Griffo response to Governor Cuomo's State of the State Address

Gov. Cuomo’s themes of taxes, technology and tourism in today’s State of the State Address are key facets of growing our economy in Central and Northern New York.

The governor’s proposal to reduce the corporate income tax rate for upstate manufacturers to zero is perhaps the most welcomed news of his address. This, combined with the elimination of a utility surcharge, should make our region a more attractive place to start or grow a business. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make both a reality.

January 8, 2014
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