STATEMENT BY SENATOR BETTY LITTLE
“There are several clear priorities for this year’s legislative session.
“First, we need to deal constructively and fairly with the budget deficit while placing an equal emphasis on stimulating economic growth by reducing taxes on small business and families. Last year’s budget was a killer that raised taxes by a record amount. I voted against it, and it is good to hear others who voted for it recognize their error, but it won’t be enough to hold the line on taxes this year. We need to cut taxes. That’s the kind of stimulus that would actually benefit everyone.
“Second, the state has to reduce, eliminate or at least make optional many of the mandates it imposes on local governments, school districts and hospitals. Everyone knows the fiscal realities we face and that financial constraints will dictate local governments and schools do more with less. But the state has a responsibility to provide flexibility to ensure that whatever cuts are made, they can be mitigated by smart decisions on the local level.
“Lastly, cleaning up Albany with an ethics bill that has teeth would restore some confidence in this institution. Clear lines need to be drawn, there needs to be more accountability and transparency, and when an elected official violates the public trust the penalty has to be real and serve as a deterrent.
“Despite everything that went wrong last year, I was pleased to win passage of a new law to streamline government and also see a state constitutional amendment that I sponsored be approved by voters statewide in November. I am looking forward to meeting new challenges this year and, as always, will work hard to represent my constituents’ interests.”