Responding to Governor Spitzer’s second State of the State address, state Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx/Westchester) promised to lead a bipartisan effort to rebuild New York’s economy, invest in our public schools and colleges and continue to reform our health care system.
"Our goals here are simple yet enormous: create tens of thousands of good paying jobs to keep the best and brightest from leaving New York, retool our public colleges and universities into international centers for research and business development, and continue our efforts to reform the state’s health care system to provide coverage for uninsured children and invest in primary care," said Senator Hassell-Thompson.
"New York needs a clear and comprehensive vision for our future and elected leaders willing to put aside politics to get things done," said Senator Hassell-Thompson. "What we saw at the State of the State was a Governor reaching out to all parties and constituencies to get his bold agenda through the Legislature."
"Over the last several months Senate Democrats have been working on its own agenda for a more prosperous and progressive New York that will touch the lives of every man, woman and child in our state," said Senator Hassell-Thompson. "I’m gratified that the Governor listened to our ideas and included many of them in his vision for a better New York."
"I will continue to fight for adequate funding for our public schools so every child has the opportunity to succeed. That means smaller class sizes, professional development for teachers, school-based health and mental health services and early intervention for at-risk kids," said Senator Hassell-Thompson.
"In terms of higher education, I will support hiring new professors to create world class public universities to compete for global research and development dollars," said Senator Hassell-Thompson. "But we also must make sure that the mission of SUNY/CUNY is honored. That means expanding TAP and keeping tuition affordable for middle and low income students. Their dream for a better way of life is a fundamental right."
"We must continue to rein in New York’s costly Medicaid system while expanding services for the uninsured," said Senator Hassell-Thompson. "These critical reforms will help us to meet our goal of providing universal health care coverage for all New Yorkers. I am particularly pleased with the proposal to ensure health care coverage for all New York’s children—they deserve no less than that."
Senator Hassell-Thompson said our focus should be on preventive care that will avoid costly treatment for chronic disease and reduce overall health care costs.
"To rebuild New York’s economy we must focus on attracting high-tech industries which will create tens of thousands good paying jobs," said Senator Hassell-Thompson. "Our state’s economic development must be nimble enough to attract new industries tailored to local needs. We also must invest more in job retraining and education programs and create incentives for high-tech skills development. Our proposal—RIGHT NY—is an excellent blueprint for the creation of good paying jobs that are sorely needed, particularly upstate."
Senator Hassell-Thompson noted that New York has one of the highest combined taxes of any state in the country. "We must reform our tax system to ease the burden on the middle class while encouraging business growth and investment. I applaud the creation of a commission to look for ways to offer New Yorkers tax relief, including considering a cap on local property taxes, expanding the STAR rebate check program and helping low income taxpayers by increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit."
"As we enter into budget negotiations I will also press for proposals that are important to my district, including safe affordable housing, prohibiting predatory lending practices, expanding rent regulations, investing in hunger prevention programs and affordable childcare, strengthening community policing, and getting tough on internet crimes and predatory phone scams," said Hassell-Thompson. "It’s a new year and I’m optimistic that we can get great things accomplished for New York."