Serino outlines initiatives she favors in budget: Column

Serino outlines initiatives she favors in budget: Column

We have all seen the famous ‘I Love NY’ trademark that has been a staple in souvenir stalls across the state since the late 1970s. The ad campaign played a role in bolstering the image of New York City at a time when its economy was lagging and its streets were crime ridden. The goal? Boost morale and tourism to save the City and hope that the positive impact had a ripple effect throughout the state. The logo’s legacy is cemented in the minds not only of New Yorkers, but of tourists from around the world who cannot help but think of it when they think “New York.”

Today, however, with the state more likely to top the list of highest taxed states in the nation instead of fastest growing, the headlines and sentiment have experienced a notable shift from “I Love NY” to “I Leave NY.”

It is clear that New York has an image problem and it is going to take more than flashy television ads touting our ‘open for business’ mantra to fix it. It is time for the state to shift its priorities from flashy gimmicks and contests to a reinvestment in what matters —the individuals and families that make New York great. That’s why with the state budget process underway, I am fighting for policies that invest in in our workforce, our communities, our schools, and the issues that matter to Hudson Valley residents.

Last week, the Senate passed a one-house budget resolution aimed at bolstering affordability, opportunity and security. That plan rejected the $1 billion in new taxes in fees that were proposed by the governor, while investing in the programs that put money back in the pockets of taxpayers and into programs that will open doors for residents.

Our budget proposal shuts down the disastrously under-performing programs like Start-Up NY and redirects the $44.5 million spent on advertising it to support more effective economic development initiatives.

Not only did we reject the executive’s proposed cap on the STAR property tax savings program that many New York residents depend on, we proposed making small businesses eligible for it. Doing so could save New York small businesses an estimated $275 million that they can use to reinvest in their businesses and their employees.

As Aging Committee chair, I know how important it is to ensure that our seniors have access to the resources they need to retire locally. That is why we proposed freezing school property taxes at current levels for many seniors and completely eliminate their school property taxes over the next 10 years. We also proposed increasing the private pension and retirement income exclusion from $20,000 to $40,000 for single taxpayers and to $80,000 for married taxpayers, over three years. This is the first increase since 1981, and represents a change that could potentially save NY retirees approximately $275 million.

High quality schools and post-secondary institutions play a critical role in attracting residents to our communities, and our proposal includes significant funding for education. It provides a record amount of education aid and more than doubles the foundation aid included in the governor’s proposal. Importantly, it also funds critical school safety measures that will help districts provide improved security technology, school resource officers and considers ways to improve the ratio between students and critically necessary mental health professionals. It also restores the potentially devastating cut to a program that helps to provide financial aid for students who attend area private colleges — institutions that not only employ a significant number of our local residents, but are essential to our regional economy.

The Senate’s proposal also includes unprecedented funding to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic and $1.2 million to combat the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases, as well as language I personally fought to have included that would represent the first major step toward addressing insurance coverage for those diagnosed with tick-borne diseases.

If we want to make New York a place where people want to live instead of leave, these are the kinds of initiatives that the state needs to be making a priority. A final state budget is expected to be voted on by April 1, and these are the types of initiatives that I will be fighting for to help move our community, and our state, forward.

Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, represents the 41st state Senate District. She is chair of the Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases and of the Senate Standing Committee on Aging.

Original Source

NYS Conservative Party leaders back Molinaro for governor

NYS Conservative Party leaders back Molinaro for governor

The following is an expanded version of the second item from my “Albany Insider” column from Monday’s print editions:

While state Democratic infighting continues, it’s looking like the Republican and Conservative parties will head into the governor’s race unified behind Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro.

The Conservative Party executive committee voted Friday to recommend the party back Molinaro over state Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco at its May nominating convention.

“This was not an easy choice,” Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long said. “Both candidates have had our endorsements in the past.”

Long said Molinaro’s experience as a county executive and former state assemblyman “makes him the all-away-around better candidate to take on Cuomo.”

“He provides the vision to mount a good campaign to take on Andrew Cuomo,” he said.

DeFrancisco had some support in the room, but once it became clear Molinaro was the choice, the vote to recommend him was unanimous, Long said.

Molinaro already has picked up support from enough county Republican chairs to guarantee—if it holds—that he’d be the party’s designated candidate coming out of next month’s nominating convention. DeFrancisco has said he won’t mount a primary challenge if he does not get the GOP nod.

The heavy support among Republican county leaders played a role in the Conservative Party executive committee vote, Long said.

He said it’s important for the Conservatives and GOP to be unified in order to take on Cuomo, who has more than $30 million in his campaign account and far better name recognitition.

“I’m fully aware of all those issues and so are the (party) leaders,” he said. “It’s a tough fight, but (Molinaro) gives us the best opportunity. And I believe Andrew Cuomo is in trouble. I think he knows he’s in trouble.”

Many Republicans and Conservatives believe Molinaro’s chances are boosted by the fact that actress Cynthia Nixon, who is challenging Cuomo in the Democratic primary, has secured the endorsement of the Working Families Party.

Even if she loses the primary but stays on the progressive WFP line, she can draw votes away from Cuomo on the left, which could mean the Republican candidate would need less than 50% of the vote to win.

“That will help Marcus make this race competitive,” Long said.

original source

NY Assembly GOP leader Brian Kolb endorses Marc Molinaro for governor

NY Assembly GOP leader Brian Kolb endorses Marc Molinaro for governor

State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb on Monday endorsed Marc Molinaro in the Republican race for governor, a month after Kolb abruptly dropped out of the race.

Kolb, R-Canandaigua, chose to give his support to a former Assembly colleague and longtime friend over state Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-DeWitt, whose core of support is in the state Senate.

“I can say with confidence that he is everything Albany needs, because he is everything that Albany is not,” Kolb said of Molinaro in a statement announcing his endorsement.

“For seven years, New York has moved down an unsustainable path, with corruption at an all-time high and public trust at an all-time low,” Kolb said. “In contrast, Marc has established himself as a proven leader who actually listens. He has been a partner to the people he serves.”

Kolb is among more than two dozen members of the New York State Republican Conference who were expected to publicly endorse Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive.

Among them is state Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, the first GOP member of the state legislature from Central New York to publicly part ways with DeFrancisco in the governor’s race.

Barclay told in an interview that it was a tough decision since he has great respect for DeFrancisco and Molinaro. But in the end he backed Molinaro, noting the two became good friends in 2006 while serving together in the Assembly.

Barclay said he liked the fact that Molinaro, 42, is a relatively young candidate who has a track record of working with people to bridge the political divide.

“I think he has the ability to bring people together and look at the executive branch a little differently,” Barclay said of Molinaro.

Molinaro surged past DeFrancisco on Friday to become the GOP front-runner, only a week after Molinaro told Republican leaders he planned to run for governor.

Molinaro has received endorsements from GOP county committees representing more than 40 percent of the weighted vote at the Republican nominating convention, due to take place in May. DeFrancisco has locked up about 20 percent of the vote.

Anyone who receives more than 50 percent of the convention vote automatically receives the GOP ballot line in the November election against Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

original source