ONEONTA, 01/17/19 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I/Ref-Oneonta) met with local officials this week to detail his priorities for the 2019 legislative session. Senator Seward says creating opportunities for economic growth while improving the state’s affordability are the fundamental priorities he will focus on.
“This marks my 17th term as a state senator. Many things have changed over the years, but I have never lost sight of the reason I first ran for office – to serve the public, and help improve the lives of the people who call this area home,” said Senator Seward. “There are real challenges ahead; however, I know that we have great potential here in the 51st senate district and across New York State.
“Our state continues to lose population and it’s not because of the weather or a lack of progressive policies as some would lead you to believe. We need to focus on the bottom line – ensuring that businesses can afford to grow, and that families and individuals have real opportunities to succeed. For me, it starts with a strong state budget and that’s why I have joined with my colleagues to advance the Senate Republican ‘Real Solutions’ budget plan. The proposal tackles real problems that people discuss with me every day. This is the budget plan we need to reroute the moving vans and rebuild the Empire State,” Seward added.
The “Real Solutions” budget plan focuses on three basic principles:
- Balancing the budget without any new taxes or fees AND providing real and significant relief to hardworking taxpayers;
- Fixing the state’s affordability crisis to give middle-class taxpayers a fighting chance to succeed and get ahead;
- Revitalizing New York’s economy so residents can find a good-paying job, take advantage of new and better opportunities and raise their families here.
As the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Seward will be front and center during state budget deliberations and promises to use that position to advocate for upstate needs and values.
“We need a fiscally sound blueprint that will help make New York more affordable for families and businesses while creating opportunities for future growth. Out of control state spending fueled by higher taxes would be disastrous, and I will stand up and fight any budget proposals that fit that description. My agenda mirrors the concerns I hear from the people I represent – a permanent property tax cap, education aid for our neediest schools, less red tape for businesses, and support for key programs to aid our farmers, veterans, and senior citizens," Seward said.
Elements of the “Real Solutions” budget include:
- Forcefully rejecting any new taxes or fees;
- Fighting to impose a state spending cap. This is more critical than ever to prevent reckless spending;
- Making the property tax cap permanent, once and for all. In addition, the proposal would extend the property tax cap to New York City;
- Fighting to CUT property taxes, not simply control them. We can do that through a phased-in, fiscally responsible Medicaid takeover and provide dollar-for-dollar savings in the form of property tax relief;
- Delivering this year’s property tax relief checks, and preventing the expiration of the program next year;
- Delivering a $770 million middle class income tax cut this year. The plan would achieve this goal by accelerating the phase-in of our historic Middle Class Income Tax Cut;
- In addition to the Medicaid takeover / mandate relief plan, the proposal would reject any and all unfunded mandates. These mandates are simply hidden taxes that hurt school districts, local governments and property taxpayers, Senator Seward will also push for the adoption of a Constitutional Amendment to ban unfunded mandates entirely.
“I will be fighting for broadband service for every region of the state, comprehensive tax cuts for small businesses and famers, regulatory relief for businesses, a regionally balanced transportation improvement plan, school safety, and college affordability,” added Seward.
Senator Seward also called for an Upstate Summit to examine issues specific to upstate and develop a comprehensive plan to rebuild our communities.
“We need to bring together key stakeholders – business organizations, business owners, local government officials, and non-profit leaders – to lay out the issues that are of top concern upstate and start to develop positive solutions. I am calling on the governor to convene an Upstate Summit, in the same vein of others he has held on yogurt, beverages, and tourism. If the governor fails to come through, then I will work with members of the Senate Republican Conference to get the job done,” concluded Seward.