ALBANY, 01/09/13 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today commented on Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address:
“New York is headed in the right direction financially thanks in part to a strong working relationship between the legislature and Governor Cuomo that has evolved over the last two years. As we embark on the 2013 legislative session I anticipate additional collaborations that will bring further improvements.
“The governor’s pledge to continue to hold the line on taxes is one I wholeheartedly endorse. This has been a key piece of our state’s rebuilding foundation and one that must remain if we are to make further strides.
“Support for our business community must also take precedence this session. We have experienced an uptick in job growth, but there is still room to grow. The governor’s focus on upstate, tourism, and his proposal to create tax free, innovation hot-spots were all encouraging. Adding tax credits and additional incentives to help the private sector create jobs will take us even further. Increasing the minimum wage, however, would hinder that growth, and is not something I can support.
“There was also a serious omission. The words ‘mandate relief’ were never uttered by the governor. When the property tax cap was approved mandate relief was supposed to be part of the package, but precious little has been done. We need to take real steps to help our local governments and schools cut costs, and focus on local needs.
“On a similar note, our high-need, low wealth school districts are at a crossroads. Some are on the verge of insolvency and are in need of a lifeline. Last year was a step toward helping better fund these districts, and additional measures to better provide for our students educational needs are essential.
“I also understand the focus on gun safety. In light of recent tragedies, something must be done, but it is wrong to adopt superficial measures that fail to confront the heart of the problem and only serve as a constraint on law-abiding gun owners. We need to take an approach that addresses the sale and possession of illegal guns, increases penalties for those who use guns to commit crimes and focuses on the treatment of mentally ill individuals who are a danger to themselves and others.
“As we look to continue the positive momentum in our state we turn our attention next to the state budget. We need to continue our recent winning record of completing work on the state spending plan on-time and at a cost people can afford.
“Overall, I see several areas where the governor and I are in agreement, and I look forward to working with him and my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we continue to get things done and help New York reach its full potential.”