In media conferences across his district kicking off the 2009 session of the New York State Senate, Senator James L. Seward (R/I/C – Oneonta) outlined his agenda of job creation, new state efficiencies and property tax relief he dubbed “Return To Greatness.”
“Much like a sports franchise after a down year, we need to rebuild. While there is some heavy lifting ahead, job creation and tax relief, combined with commonsense cuts can help spur our economy,” Seward said. “The governor has presented his budget and his vision, now it is time to take those unfinished pieces of the puzzle and create a completed solution that will return New York to greatness.”
Step 1-- Job creation. Seward is calling for a job creation plan that would bring new opportunities and jumpstart business growth particularly upstate. The initiative would include job creating tax cuts for small businesses and manufacturers that will make them more competitive. This innovative economic strategy would also cut burdensome government regulations and encourage new investment in community revitalization. The proposal would also provide interest free loans to students who stay in New York State.
“The first step back to prosperity in New York needs to come on the job front. We must focus on the small businesses and manufacturers that dot our upstate landscape. Finding ways to make them more competitive while at the same time, attracting new companies to our region has to be a top priority so we can grow our way out of this crisis.”
Step 2 – A stronger, firmer New York. Seward is calling for the formation of a special bipartisan task force that will review current state agencies and authorities looking for inefficiencies with a goal of achieving $1 to $2 billion in savings. The task force report would be due to state lawmakers by April 1.
“As we review the state’s spending plan, we must take a good hard look in the mirror. State agencies and authorities that have served their purpose can be downsized, consolidated, or eliminated. Simply put, we need to be more efficient,” Seward said. “Families are tightening their belts, so should government.”
Seward also pinpointed other potential savings areas, including;
*Enhanced Medicaid fraud detection;
*Wicks’ Law reform;
*Mandate relief for local governments and schools.
Step 3 – Property tax relief. Seward renewed his call for property tax relief with a cap on all property taxes in New York. Seward also wants to forbid any state budget actions from effecting property taxes.
“Property tax relief is key. New taxes and fees like those proposed by the governor will only cause more harm to our already fragile economy. The billions of dollars in new taxes he has proposed would cause irreparable harm to working families and small businesses, driving even more people from the state,” said Seward.
“These are challenging times and difficult decisions must be made. Tricks and gimmicks won’t be able to bail us out. I am confident though, that with the right combination of economic development, tax relief and common sense cuts, we can move the state forward in a positive direction.”