For Release: Immediate, January 21, 2014
Jobs and economic opportunities are paramount, and the Governor’s focus on making New York a more affordable place to live and work is right on target. Many of his proposals to make our state’s economy more competitive mirror the Senate’s initiatives. Manufacturing jobs especially drive the Upstate economy, and reducing manufacturing and small business taxes and eliminating utility taxes on employers and residential consumers are key.
Property tax relief continues to be a top concern of my constituents, and the Governor spoke extensively about reducing the suffocating property tax burden, which is something I fully support. I look forward to fully analyzing the specifics of his proposals through upcoming budget hearings.
I was thrilled that Lake Shore Hospital, which is in grave danger of closing, got a specific mention from Health Department Commissioner Nirav Shah during the presentation, when he gave details about some health initiatives included in the Governor’s budget proposal.
Our state legislators, including Assemblymen Andy Goodell and Joe Giglio, have been working tirelessly with me to save Lake Shore from closing. I personally have spoken with Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Shah several times about solutions, and it is heartening that they are listening to our concerns.
It clearly shows that we can make a difference. More than 1,000 people showed up at our recent Rally to Save Lake Shore, and their voices definitely were heard all the way to Albany. I am optimistic we will be victorious.
There are many distressed hospitals across the entire state, and I will be working extensively as a member of the Senate Health budget negotiating team on solutions to strengthen all of our hospitals. I especially will strive to help our rural hospitals with their financial concerns because it is critically important that everyone has access to quality health care.
The Governor also outlined expansive education initiatives. My top concern is making sure our schools receive the funding necessary to provide outstanding education to our children. I will be closely reviewing his proposals and getting feedback from my schools, teachers and parents about these issues.
Many parents are deeply concerned about the Common Core rollout. We need higher standards and a world class education system. However, I share parents’ concerns about elements of Common Core, especially the high stakes testing. Students in grades K through 2 shouldn’t be subjected to standards that developmentally they are unable to meet. There also are alarming privacy issues in Common Core. Children’s sensitive personal information should not be shared with third parties. I will be advocating for significant changes to the State Education Department’s current program.
There is a great deal to analyze in the budget, and I will continue to work on behalf of my district during budget negotiations.