Each day as Americans, we enjoy the freedom of peace, prosperity and independence. These are virtues upon which the United States was built and ideals that bind us together as a nation. On Memorial Day we pause to remember that freedom comes at great cost. Throughout history, in fields, skies, and seas around the world, American military personnel have stood tall to oppose the enemies of freedom. Many of these brave servicemen and women gave their lives to defend our liberty and uphold the promise of our democracy.
Recently the Senate’s Task Force on Government Efficiency, of which I am a member, released an investigative report citing $60 million dollars in potential cost-savings at the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT), and more than $200 million in funds the Department has already wasted. The report is the third in a series of investigations into state agency spending by the Task Force.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and encourage individuals and communities to support children and families. The consequences are wide-ranging and affect us all. Child abuse leads to other problems – long term health and mental health problems, drug addiction, runaways, juvenile violence and adult crime. Most violent prisoners in our jails were abused or neglected as children.
During these especially difficult economic times, working families in the lower Hudson Valley should be aware of how to claim money that rightfully belongs to them. Below is information about the most popular tax credits available to New York State families.
Last week I was appointed by the Senate Majority to Chair the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, a post I held previously for a number of years. As I assume this role I am very well aware of a number of mental health priorities that need to be addressed in our state.
Some of the country's most significant Thanksgivings have come in years when gratitude wouldn't appear to come easy. And yet perhaps because of that it acquired a depth and strength that gave it added meaning and helped Americans weather their troubles and maintain this improbable but amazingly successful Union.
I was pleased to have played a role in arranging ongoing meetings between the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT), local officials and community leaders together which resulted in the recent opening of the James A. Farley Memorial Bridge, well ahead of schedule. This was originally planned as a three year project.
I want to make you aware of two new laws that were recently signed that will help make health insurance more accessible for New York residents. I supported and voted for both of these measures during this year’s Senate session to help make health insurance more affordable for both families and young adults as our state recovers from the current economic crisis.
I am very unhappy to report that Governor Paterson has secret plans to spend $140 million of federal stimulus money to give $200 per child “back to school” grants to welfare and food stamp recipients. The new welfare give-away reportedly was detailed in a secret memo from the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance.
I’m very pleased that the Senate has passed the most significant, sweeping legislative reforms in its history. The beneficiaries of those changes are the people of this state. As result, the Senate will be more open, transparent and accountable.
Each and every member of the Senate will now be empowered by these reforms. Every Senator will be treated fairly and given equitable resources to ensure they can effectively represent their constituents.
The days of legislative leaders dominating everything that happens in Albany is over.
I am pleased to let you know that a recent report, “Transforming New York’s Public Health Insurance Programs: Expanding Access, Improving Quality and Controlling Costs,” cites how New York’s Medicaid program has been reformed through the reduction of inpatient rates, investment in primary and preventive care and ambulatory care services, and by providing incentives to practitioners who work in medically underserved areas and meet patient-centered medical home standards that advance integrated and coordinated care.
With a very short time left in the 2009 regular legislative session, I have joined a bipartisan group of Senators to call for the enactment of real rules reforms that would truly end the dysfunction that has caused the public to lose confidence in the state Legislature by increasing government openness, accountability and fairness.
I recently joined Senator Dean Skelos and other Senate leaders to unveil the “Taxpayer Empowerment Act” (TEA), a five-part program that addresses the root causes of New York’s fiscal and economic problems -- spending too much and taxing too much. This plan goes to the heart of the reasons that people, businesses and jobs are leaving New York for other states. The TEA will strictly limit taxes, spending and mandates and will increase accountability at the state and local levels.
Very recently it has come to my attention that more than 2,000 companies across the State - - including a number of businesses located in the lower Hudson Valley, could be retroactively lose their existing Empire Zone benefits under a drastic plan approved in the State Budget that I voted against. The plan is now being implemented by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).
I want to thank the representatives of mental health agencies and non-profit organizations in Orange and Rockland for participating in a recent forum on the “STEPS” program (Screening, Treatment, and Education to Promote Strength), a first-of-its-kind virtual mental health initiative for teens and their parents. Funded through a $500,000 state grant I was able to secure, New York University’s Christopher P.
I want to take this opportunity to recommend to families residing in Rockland and Orange Counties, as well as local school officials, that they make every effort to obtain and review a newly revised guide developed by the New York State Department of Health. Entitled, “Children with Diabetes: A Resource Guide for Families and School,” this timely guide is designed to assist families, school officials and others as they work together to care for children with diabetes and help prevent diabetes in children at ri
NYC Legislators are praising a deal on an MTA bailout. While they talk a lot about “One New York,” the reality is they always put New York City first.
Almost ten years ago suburban commuters were targeted with a commuter tax. New York City-oriented legislators at that time tried to ignore the fact everyone who works in New York contributes to the city treasury—directly, through sales taxes on purchases in the city, and indirectly, through a broad array of city taxes paid by the firms that employ commuters and profit from their productivity.