State of the State Falls Short

ALBANY, 01/06/10 -- Senator James L. Seward today commented on Gov. Paterson’s State of the State address:

“As we start 2010 it is time for New York to take a new direction.   Last year we went to the edge of the cliff and in order to keep from going over we will need to make some difficult decisions. 

“While he talks tough, the governor’s track record is unconvincing.  Last year he gave a similar speech and then went ahead and approved record state spending fueled by over $11 billion in new taxes.  He also took away the STAR rebate checks and squandered billions of dollars in federal stimulus money.

“The governor did hit on several items I have already proposed.  A state spending cap, merging of state agencies and mandate relief for our local governments and school districts are all items we must achieve in order to achieve fiscal recovery.  I am also pleased to hear an emphasis on small business growth and the use of alternative energy and technology to create jobs.

“Unfortunately the speech missed the mark on three important components -  there was no pledge not to raise taxes and fees on our cash strapped families and businesses; support for the agriculture industry and in particular our hard hit dairy farmers was never mentioned; and specifics on how to eliminate the deficit and create jobs were absent. 

“Retaining jobs and opening up new business opportunities so our children can stay here need to be top priorities along with reducing the high tax burden crushing so many of our families and senior citizens.

“New York can be a leader and emerge from the national recession on top.  Capping state spending, slicing property taxes and investing in our business community are the keys to unlocking our potential and reclaiming our title as the Empire State.”