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Early morning debate still spirited

Much of the debate for the 109th assembly district focused on reforming New York state government as challenger Jennifer Whalen discussed cutting taxes and reducing unfunded mandates and incumbent Assemblyman Bob Reilly couldn't stop talking about Andrew Cuomo.

At an hour to which Colonie Chamber of Commerce President Tom Nolte jokingly referred to as ungodly, the candidates met at 8 a.m. for their first of two, hour long debates.

Whalen, a former assistant attorney general, said she would support a property tax cap that would be set at 2.5 percent or at the rate of inflation, adding that New York has some of the highest property taxes in the nation. While Reilly, D-Colonie, said he supports a tax cap, he wished it wasn't some he had to support.

"The Assembly has already passed, although it never got through the Senate or the governor, a cap on tax called a circuit breaker," he said. "Unfortunately, I don't think the 212 legislators have the wherewithal to really make the decisions on what they're going to cut, what they're going to support, etc."

Reilly, in his third mention of Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Cuomo within 20 minutes, said he would support the attorney general's proposed tax cap which would entail a freeze on school taxes and local government taxes a two percent or at the rate of inflation. He added that the provision would allow for a municipality to raise their taxes if under a large suit and that residents could vote to override the raise with 60 percent of the vote.

Whalen challenged him as she said she was confused with the reference to Cuomo as legislation for a property tax cap got held up in the assembly and they have yet to come back for another session to vote on it.

"It's not clear on why the assembly didn't pass a property tax cap," she said. "It's an outrage. 83 percent of New Yorkers wanted it."

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