It’s hard to believe that my first year of proudly serving as your New York State Senator is drawing to a close. By working together, we have taken steps towards our goal of creating more jobs and reducing the cost of living and doing business in the Hudson Valley.
Since taking the oath of office in January, I’ve met with more than 160 public officials and organizations, attended over 300 community events and spoken with so many of you throughout Dutchess and Putnam Counties.
Since day one I’ve reached out to everyone, regardless of party affiliation, who has been working to help make our communities stronger and healthier. I’ve worked with Republican colleagues on legislative initiatives including term limits and eliminating the burden of unfunded mandates on our local governments in an effort to reduce property taxes. I’ve also received excellent input from local residents and organizations of all political stripes who have helped me introduce legislation that will help vulnerable witnesses in court, keep our seniors in their homes, ensure that those suffering with Lyme and tick-borne illness receive the care they need, and protect our children and education system from unnecessary standardized testing.
As an Albany outsider, I have worked hard to combat the culture of corruption that has been the status quo in our state capitol for way too long. I pushed for tough ethics reform that would eliminate the ability of legislators to use their campaign accounts as personal ATMs and restrict the legislature from voting in the middle of the night in a legislative effort to increase transparency.
Some of this year’s highlights include:
- Helped secure $3,727,603 million in economic development grants in Dutchess and Putnam Counties that will create over 3,000 jobs.
- Hosted a Veterans and Families Fair featuring over 60 service providers and exhibitors that offer services such as healthcare, housing, employment, education, business support and much more, specifically for veterans and their families.
- Voted to repeal the MTA Commuter Tax for self-employed individuals earning up to $250,000 annually (S.2648) and introduced legislation to repeal the MTA Payroll Tax.
- Secured $9.5 million in additional school aid for schools in Dutchess and Putnam for the 2013-2014 school year.
- Secured $6 million towards repurposing the site of the Beacon correctional facility with a focus towards creating more local jobs.
- Secured $1 million for an engineering study of the Pudding Street Overpass over the Taconic State Parkway.
- Secured $200,000 in grants to Wappinger and Hyde Park for sidewalk repairs to allow for more pedestrian access to local businesses.
- Secured $100,000 for Imagination Station II to construct a new community playground at Kent Elementary School.
- Secured $100,000 to construct a new facility for the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse in Poughkeepsie.
- Delivered $42,000 for capital construction projects at the Howland Public Library in Beacon, Morton Memorial Library in Rhinecliff, and the Mid-Hudson Library System in Poughkeepsie.
- Helped secure $800 million in tax cuts for New York businesses over 3 years.
- Worked to pass $300 million in tax relief over three years for hardworking families and extend the lowest middle-class income tax rates in 60 years.
- Supported unemployment and workers’ compensation reforms saving New Yorkers $1.3 billion.
- Introduced the Hire NY Act to encourage small business growth in our communities by providing no interest loans to small businesses entrepreneurs to hire local employees.
- Successfully fought to phase out and eliminate the unfair 18-A Energy Tax that will save homeowners, small businesses, and farms money on their energy bill.
- Introduced legislation to empower women and minority small businesses owners and entrepreneurs.
- Supported the 10 point Women’s Equality Act to end discrimination and inequality based on gender.
- Led the fight to restore $90 million in cuts to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.
- Voted to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 per hour over the next three years, which will add $1.2 billion to New York State’s economy and will directly benefit 16,300 workers in Dutchess and Putnam Counties.
- Introduced a 3 point mandate relief package that provides mandate relief to Dutchess and Putnam, and introduced a constitutional amendment that prohibits unfunded mandates in New York State.
- Supported legislation that will establish incentives and tax credits for investments in solar energy and extends existing programs.
- Supported tax credits for businesses that hire veterans and teenagers.
We have had a successful year, but there is still much work ahead. I believe that with determination, and by working together, we can continue to make great progress. I remain committed to fighting the status quo in Albany so that we can continue reducing the cost of living and doing business, and create more jobs here in Dutchess and Putnam Counties.
It is a privilege to serve as your State Senator, and I wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season.
New York State Senator, 41st District