Thomas F. O'Mara's Blog entries

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expand the DNA databank?

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

February 29, 2012

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

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.


January 18, 2012

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

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

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

Time to stand out

Here we go. And the timing couldn’t be better, arriving as it does on the heels of:

-- reports of more local job losses and rising unemployment rates; and

July 29, 2011

Finish, Then Start Again

The start of summer has so far been a season of victory laps for the Cuomo administration.  In the wake of a 2011 legislative session that’s received many positive reviews, the governor and key members of his cabinet have been out and about across New York State touting this year’s achievements.

July 13, 2011

Wine in grocery stores?

Should New York State allow wine to be sold in grocery stores?

That's been debated in the Legislature for a long time, and I weighed in on the issue today.

May 23, 2011

Share It

The newly created Spending and Government Efficiency Commission, or SAGE Commission, is inviting public input on ways to cut government waste and smarten up about state spending.

We should take every advantage of the opportunity.

May 13, 2011

(Right)sizing It Up

The 2011-2012 state budget undeniably took some important steps in the direction of getting spending under control as the first step toward a more economically and fiscally strong New York.

Now what?  I say keep going.

May 2, 2011

New York's not all big cities

The joint, bipartisan Legislative Commission on Rural Resources has long been noted as a voice of rural New York within the state Legislature.

That's important at a time when New York government has become increasingly dominated by urban-oriented, mostly downstate legislative leaders.    

April 13, 2011


Governor Andrew Cuomo released his proposed 2011-2012 state budget on February 1st and since then we've done our best to encourage local feedback on the potential impact of the governor's plan.

March 24, 2011

Budget Feedback

For everyone interested, I've posted the results of my recent online survey on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2011-2012 New York State budget.

Read the results of Senator O'Mara's 2011-2012 budget survey

March 18, 2011
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