ALBANY, 01/08/14 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) today commented on Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address:
“The governor’s address included several broad-brush proposals that I believe will be positive for upstate New York. Improving our state’s economic development climate and cutting taxes are high priorities of mine, and I was pleased the governor focused a great deal of attention on these topics.
“The good news is that we are working with a budget surplus, rather than a deficit. We need to return that surplus to the families and businesses that have stuck with New York through the tough economic times. In recent years we have approved targeted tax cuts. This year, we need to concentrate on broad-based tax cuts that will bring relief across the board.
“Mandate relief that frees up local resources, and aids in lowering property taxes, must also take precedence. Most local officials are already collaborating with neighboring municipalities and cutting back wherever possible. Instead of calling out local governments for spending too much, we need to provide them with real relief that will help improve their fiscal state.
“I was pleased with the governor’s discussion on education. Universal pre-kindergarten statewide, along with expanded after-school programs are attainable goals. But I will also be fighting for a fair and equitable school aid increase that will help provide our students with the tools they need to succeed while keeping property taxes in check. Along those lines, we must deal with the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) which has put upstate schools in a deep budgetary hole.
“I am also on board with the governor’s plans for an agriculture summit, continued emphasis on upstate tourism initiatives, and infrastructure improvements.
“Overall, we start 2014 from a better financial position than in the recent past. We also have a positive track record of working cooperatively, producing three straight on-time budgets, a streak I will work to continue. I look forward to maintaining our momentum and producing positive results for the people of upstate New York and the state as a whole.”