“We had a very productive legislative session last year. The property tax levy cap, middle-class income tax cut, passage of an on-time budget while closing a $10 billion deficit, new low-cost power program for businesses -- all of these were possible because of a bipartisan and constructive approach. The bickering was replaced by a willingness to listen, learn and compromise. We focused on solutions and results were achieved.
“I’m hopeful we can build on that momentum to do much more.
“The top issue this year remains job creation. State government has to continue to work at becoming a better partner with the job creators. The financial challenges we face as a state, including the projected $3 billion budget deficit, are best addressed by growing the economy and improving the employment picture.
"I expect to see a greater focus this year on mandate relief. There were a lot of ideas put on the table for discussion, but not much acted upon last session. Behind every mandate is a special interest and many of them are laudable. But some are not needed, or are unaffordable or simply not appropriate for all regions of the state. The tax cap has created an urgency to act and find agreement on relief measures that will provide our local governments and schools the flexibility they need.
“I like the governor’s ideas to invest in road and bridge infrastructure as well as energy use and transmission and look forward to more detail in the budget proposal. These are worthwhile investments that will create economic activity today while building for the future. And, I am eager to learn more about increasing tourism promotion, which will benefit the North Country and all of New York.
“I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and all of my colleagues in the Senate and Assembly to continue our effort to move New York in a positive direction.”