ALBANY, 01/04/12 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today commented on Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address:
“Partnering with Governor Cuomo last year, we ended partisan gridlock and a number of successful initiatives were realized. Now it is time to continue our Empire State resurgence.
“The governor’s focus on creating private sector jobs runs parallel with my own. His innovative approach to utilizing public/private partnerships is especially appealing and I was pleased he singled out tourism as a sector in need of additional state support.
“Expanding on the regional economic development concept to spotlight the best and brightest our state has to offer is also productive. But we need real regulatory reform to assist businesses large and small. Let’s cut government red tape to help existing companies expand and make it easier for new ones to open.
“I was also pleased with the governor’s commitment to investing in our state’s infrastructure and the agriculture sector. These are two items extremely important to the upstate economy and way of life.
“I am eager to see more from his mandate relief council. Fewer constraints on our local governments and schools are needed to protect essential services and keep property taxes in check. I was disappointed that he didn’t mention Medicaid – the mother of all mandates. A state takeover of local Medicaid costs is needed to free up local resources.
“I appreciate the governor’s call for improved public education. Along with improving student achievement and teacher accountability we also need to reconfigure the formula used to determine school funding. Low-wealth, high-need school districts in rural communities are not receiving their fair share and that needs to change.
“Finally, I was pleased to hear the governor’s continued commitment to storm recovery for communities devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The call for an improved statewide emergency communications system is vital to protect families and businesses as well as our first responders.
“Step one to accomplishing these goals is an on-time budget that once again cuts spending without any additional taxes or fees. The governor and I are in agreement there as well.
“Overall I was pleased with the governor’s address and I look forward to working him as we build on last year’s progress and strive for an even more productive 2012.”