My first month in office has been both exciting and challenging – mirroring the times we face in our daily lives. I have had the opportunity to meet with community leaders in all corners of our great district as I have visited schools, fire departments, villages and various community groups to listen to the concerns in each and discuss how we can address the challenges ahead.
During January, we have stayed true to our commitment to providing fiscal responsibility to our State. I am pleased to have sponsored the Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act which not only sets a cap of 2 per cent on year to year state spending increases and requires a super majority in both houses of the legislature in order to raise state taxes and fees, but also provides incentives to small business throughout New York State to create jobs, something we all agree we desperately need. The bill provides businesses with a three-year tax credit of up to $5,000 for each new job created and eliminates taxes for small businesses that are hindering job growth.
On the good government front, I have sponsored a bill that would amend the election law permitting our villages and local governments to continue using the lever voting machines or paper ballots in the upcoming local elections. As the former mayor of a village and the chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Local Governments, I am fully aware of the economic burden being placed on our local governments. Simply put, although the recently enacted law that brought us the scanner voting machines requires that they be used in all elections, the scanner voting machines are not able to be used for our local elections. This bill would restore the use of our lever machines in local elections until the State is able to address the issue and in time for our March village elections.
Also, I am pleased to have introduced the Consolidation Amendment Bill which amends the Consolidation Law that went into effect last year in a number of important ways including adding a requirement that prior to any vote on consolidation or dissolution, the voters be given the particulars as to the merits, fiscal and otherwise. The law currently allows a vote without having these particulars in place.
I am pleased that both of these bills have also been introduced in true bipartisan fashion in the Assembly by my colleague, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel. Through these efforts, we have bi-partisan legislation that makes sense for the residents and taxpayers of our communities. I am sure that we will continue to work together to do everything possible to ease the financial burdens placed on our residents and restore good, common sense government.
There are important challenges facing us in Albany, but by working together, we will meet them head on and once again make New Yorkers proud of our great state!