Thomas F. O'Mara's Blog entries

Opening Act

It's always the opening act in New York State's annual legislative session: the governor delivers a State of the State address that, by design, lays out a broad and commonly ambitious agenda.

Tradition has long held that this kickoff to the session -- the presentation of the governor's vision -- is chock full of ideas but short on specifics on how these ideas will be carried out or paid for.  The true nuts and bolts of the agenda arrive a few weeks later, during the presentation of the executive budget, which Governor Cuomo is scheduled to unveil this year on Tuesday, January 22, 2013.  That's where we find the all-important details of specific proposals and the Legislature can then begin to better determine their impact on communities across New York.

January 10, 2013
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Start Here, Get There

January is College Financial Aid Awareness Month in New York State and the Higher Education Service Corporation’s (HESC) “Start Here, Get There” campaign is currently offering events and other tools to help students and families undertake the college aid application process.

It’s one of the most daunting tasks facing college-bound students and their families.  But now’s the time to get started and this month’s ‘Start Here, Get There’ financial aid awareness campaign offers easily accessible and vitally important information and assistance.  It’s a one-stop clearinghouse for the tools that students and families need to complete the process.

Find out more...

January 3, 2013
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Jobs Express

Since it was launched in October 2011, New York State's "Jobs Express" website has helped more than 59,000 citizens find work through its extensive online postings.

Jobs Express currently has more than 74,000 job openings available at more than 4,600 employers across New York -- including employers throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes region.

It's worth a look.

 

 

December 14, 2012
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Long Days, Longer Nights

Hundreds of thousands of our fellow New Yorkers are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, which was followed last week by a Nor'easter that battered these communities again with more wind, rain, snow and power outages.

I simply can't say enough about all of the businesses, first responders, relief groups, volunteers and concerned citizens who continue to answer the call from throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.

If there's one thing we understand, it's this: They need our help.

November 14, 2012
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Summit No. 2

So what’s on tap for the end of October in New York State government?

How about today's first-ever “Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit” convened by Governor Andrew Cuomo in Albany.

It marks the latest chapter in New York government taking a more active, collaborative, nuts-and-bolts partnership role in our pursuit to improve the business climate in New York to foster economic growth and create jobs.

Government as the gateway to a better business climate. Imagine that.

October 24, 2012
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Rural Futures

Approximately 44 of New York’s 62 counties are designated as rural, and that's why the State Legislature saw fit to create one of our longest-standing commissions 30 years ago this year.

It's called the Legislative Commission on the Development of Rural Resources, and over the past three decades, it's been respected as voice for rural New York at the Capitol.

October 3, 2012
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I-STOP

One of the true highlights of the 2012 legislative session was recently signed into law by Governor Cuomo.

It's called I-STOP and it's a measure that makes New York State a national leader in combating prescription drug abuse.

Prescription drug abuse has emerged as one of America’s most alarming, tragic and urgent public health challenges.  This action places New York at the forefront of addressing it and attempting to save lives, especially young lives.

Consider this: in 2010, over 22 million prescriptions for painkilling drugs were written in New York State -- not including refills.  That’s a stunning figure, especially in a state where the entire population is less than 20 million.  

September 7, 2012
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Modern Crime Fighting

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on August 1 that "the groundbreaking law expanding New York State's DNA databank by requiring anyone convicted of any felony or Penal Law misdemeanor to provide a DNA sample is now effective."

That's great news.

The State Legislature gave final approval to the expansion and it was signed into law by the governor earlier this year. 

The expansion of the state's DNA databank is a move that law enforcement leaders locally and across New York State have called an essential modern-day crime-fighting tool.

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August 2, 2012
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What about rural New York?

Let's not forget that New York, in so many ways, remains a rural state.

Approximately 44 of New York’s 62 counties are designated as rural, including all of the counties I represent.

Thirty years ago, the state Legislature established what's become commonly known as the Rural Resources Commission.  A 10-member, bipartisan commission on which I currently serve as a member, the Commission was founded to examine the impact of rural communities and industries on the state economy; review existing state laws and regulations impacting rural regions; assess the effectiveness of state programs and services affecting the needs and problems of rural areas; and develop recommendations for the Legislature to enhance and protect New York’s rural resources.

July 16, 2012
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A Cool Town

Summer in the Finger Lakes is already getting into full swing, including this weekend's "America's Coolest Small Town 2012" celebration in Hammondsport, Steuben County.

I'll be joining other area officials and community residents at Saturday’s village-wide celebration of Hammondsport’s  designation as Budget Travel magazine’s “America’s Coolest Small Town.”

What a great way to help welcome another season of summer tourism in the Finger Lakes.  It took a fantastic, region-wide show of support to help Hammondsport rise to the top, and it’s a real tribute to one of our great Finger Lakes towns.

June 29, 2012
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New jobs in June?

A weak, less-than-optimistic national jobs report from the federal Labor Department was released today.

A few days ago, a state comptroller's report on the New York economy reached the conclusion that "we're not out of the woods yet."

And to begin the week, data from the Tax Foundation showed that “New York tops the nation in one key export: people fleeing high taxes.” 

June 1, 2012
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Meth Again

We’ve seen an alarming and a troubling increase across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions over the past year in the incidents of addiction, violence and tragedy that are the by-products of rampant methamphetamine production and use. 

The officers of the Southern Tier Methamphetamine Task Force continue to do outstanding work to protect our communities. 

But none of us can sit back and allow our region or anywhere else in New York State to serve as a safe harbor for meth labs, meth addicts or meth pushers. The risks are too great and the consequences too overwhelming for the safety of our neighborhoods, our police officers and our first responders, to say nothing of local systems of health care, criminal justice and social services.

May 9, 2012
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Year Two

It’s important that the past two years have produced on-time state budgets and actions that put the brakes on runaway spending and higher taxes, and that signal a future of spending control, tax relief and private-sector job growth.

April 2, 2012
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New Jobs NY

It’s undeniable that the past year in New York government has already achieved overdue and significant economic and fiscal reforms.

But we can’t stop now.

March 8, 2012
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Expand the DNA databank?

There's a key criminal justice debate currently underway throughout New York State.

February 29, 2012
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Made in America (but especially New York)

Late last year I read a headline in the New York Times that asked, “Does America Need Manufacturing?”  For anyone who  grew up anywhere in the Southern Tier during the region’s manufacturing heyday – whose fathers and grandfathers made a decent living in those factories -- the answer to that question is heartfelt and immediate: you better believe it.

February 7, 2012
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Round Two

Governor Cuomo has unveiled his second proposed state budget.  In year two, he's seeking to continue last year's momentum for restoring New York's economic strength and fiscal soundness.

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January 18, 2012
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2012 Session: Round Two?

The 2012 legislative session gets underway this Wednesday.  Here's looking ahead to a new year that picks up where we left off in 2011 -- especially with an ongoing commitment to actions speaking louder than words.

  

January 3, 2012
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How can we get New York back to work?

One of the cornerstones of this year's state budget was the creation of 10 regional Economic Development Councils that have been working over the past several months to develop locally based, short- and long-term strategies for economic growth and job creation.

The 10 regional proposals, including plans for the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, have now been finalized and submitted.

November 15, 2011
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Government Efficiency

As the demands and responsibilities placed on government become greater and greater, the need for efficiency in programs and services calls for equal attention.

So I’m looking forward to the renewed state Senate effort in the year ahead to uncover waste, inefficiency and mismanagement throughout the state bureaucracy.

September 20, 2011
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