Albany, N.Y., June 11—Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats) said that the close of this year’s regular session of the State Legislature will leave New York “heading in the wrong direction on too many of the fundamental responsibilities of government to protect taxpayers, build local economies, create jobs, and keep communities and citizens safe.”
This week marked the end of the Legislature’s 2021 regular legislative session, one that O’Mara said has failed to put the state on course for a fiscally responsible and strong future -- and will leave New York government under the control of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s unilateral, COVID-19 emergency executive powers indefinitely.
O’Mara, who throughout the past year has been one of the Legislature’s most vocal critics of extending Cuomo’s emergency powers, said, “Endless executive orders have failed and keep failing New York’s local communities, families, economies, and workers. It’s unthinkable that the Albany Democrats will continue to let Governor Cuomo sit in Albany, exert total control, and issue directive after directive without any regard for legislative checks and balances, or local input. They are leaving town without declaring an end to the COVID-19 state of emergency in New York State and without bringing an end to Governor Cuomo’s one-man rule. At a time when our local communities and economies should be facing an optimistic turning point in the COVID-19 pandemic and fully making their own reopening decisions, they are faced with continuing to be at the arbitrary, non-scientific, non-sensible whims of this governor. The continued mask mandate for children in schools is just the latest outrageous example.”
[Watch Senator O'Mara's comments on the Senate floor on Thursday night HERE.]
O’Mara was also critical of the 2021-2022 state budget enacted by Cuomo and the Democrat supermajorities in the Senate and Assembly in April, which he said “went far beyond any reasonable sense of fairness, responsibility, or sustainability for hard-working, taxpaying citizens.”
O’Mara added, “We had an opportunity and a responsibility to utilize a one-time windfall of roughly $13 billion in federal stimulus aid under a fiscally responsible, short- and long-term strategy for the post-COVID rebuilding, restoring, and resetting of local communities, economies, environments, and governments. Equally important, we needed to recognize the fiscal cliffs New York could face for the foreseeable future, steer clear of any massive new taxing and spending, and bolster the state’s emergency reserve funds. That’s not what this budget did. It sets up an economic and fiscal disaster.”
Finally, O’Mara stressed that a growing “pro-criminal mentality” within the Legislature continues to produce careless actions on criminal justice and corrections, and law and order, that pose risks to public safety and security throughout New York.
O’Mara said, “Bail and discovery reform, parole reform, prison inmate violence, a building ‘defund the police’ movement within the highest levels of state government, over the past two years under one-party control of state government, we have seen a pro-criminal mentality take hold, one that has gone too far and keeps going too far in New York. It marks a dangerous and disturbing turning point for public safety and security. We need to keep standing up, speaking out, and working against it.”