Questionnaire Responses Help Provide Better Representation

Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer

October 19, 2016

Senator Ranzenhofer's column appeared in the Amherst and Clarence Bees on October 19th

Earlier this year, I asked for your views on a number of state issues, including Western New York’s economy and the Common Core Learning Standards, as part of a nine-question Legislative Questionnaire.  As your State Senator, your opinions are important to me.  Your input helps me to better represent you, your family and our community in the New York State Senate.  

Over 10,000 residents in the 61st Senate District– from Amherst to Rochester– responded by completing and returning the survey to my office.  Thank you to each and every resident who completed the survey for sharing your thoughts with me.

My district office continued to receive responses in the mail even as late as the end of the summer.  Since then, answers to the questionnaire have been compiled, and I would like to share some of the results with you.

For the first question about Western New York’s economy, only twenty-three percent of constituents said it was good, strong and improving.  That is why I have been working to lower taxes and eliminate regulations to help our manufacturers and small businesses grow our economy and create jobs.  For example, the tax rates for manufacturers and small businesses are at the lowest levels since 1917 and 1968, respectively.  However, we still have a long way to go.

Eighty-five percent of residents did not support the Governor’s budget proposal to allow undocumented, illegal immigrants to access state financial aid.  I am pleased to report that I worked to successfully reject this provision, and it was not included in the final budget.  If it had been enacted, it would have cost taxpayers $27 million.

Eighty-four percent of constituents supported a fair share of state transportation dollars for Upstate New York’s roads and bridges.  As you may recall, the Governor’s budget originally shortchanged Upstate and Western New York by $6 billion.  

I fought, throughout the budget process, for a fair and more equitable distribution of resources, and I was able to deliver a record level of funding, $27.1 billion, to fix Western New York’s highways, roads and bridges.

Lastly, almost sixty percent of respondents endorsed legislation to allow ride-sharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, to operate in Upstate New York.  Under existing state law, these companies are not permitted to do business in Western New York.  While I co-sponsored one bill and voted for another to change the law, the New York State Assembly did not pass the legislation.

I hope that you find this update about the questionnaire results to be informative and helpful.  As always, I am here to serve you.  If I can ever be of assistance to you or your family, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at (716) 631-8695, e-mail at or on the web at or