I hope you've been staying healthy and you & your family are safe from the winter weather.
The 2021 NYS Legislative Session is scheduled to begin in January, but it is possible we will return to Albany before then to deal with imminent emergencies, particularly the need for housing protection and small business relief. Clearly, my colleagues and I have very difficult decisions ahead of us as we plan for the FY 2021-2022 State Budget. State revenues have been decimated due to the impact of COVID-19, and we need federal funding to avoid cuts to essential services and programs. I am hopeful that Congress will agree on an interim package to help extend unemployment benefits, grant small business relief, and help states and local governments at least on a temporary basis. Even with federal help, my Senate colleagues and I are considering every option on the table to identify additional revenues. You should know that I strongly support raising taxes on New York State’s wealthiest during this pandemic, as I think this emergency period demands shared sacrifice from those most able to help.
Statewide, lines at food pantries are growing, and families are falling behind on mortgage payments and rent. If you are able, I urge you to make a contribution to a local food pantry in your area. I will be doing my part here at home and in Albany to ensure our most critical service providers have the resources they need to take care of our neighbors during this crisis and beyond.
On a more positive note, I am delighted by some of the holiday decorations that many of you have put up at your homes. The lights and intricate designs bring us joy during these challenging times. It is quite nice that when we cannot bring people into our homes so many are doing what they can to bring the beauty and joy out to the community. If you'd like pictures of your decorations included, please email me pictures of your outdoor decorations, and my office will create a slideshow for social media to showcase some of the most beautiful holiday lighting designs in our communities. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I don't see you before the New Year, wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year.
Shelley B. Mayer