This year, I’ve been outspoken about saving millions of tax dollars and the environment by stopping the wasteful printing of bills that often go unread and end up getting tossed into landfills. I’m pleased to report that the Legislature passed a bill I co-sponsored that will enable the New York State Legislature to begin the transition to go paperless, by amending the constitution to stop the placement of paper copies of bills on the 212 legislative desks and permit a digital copy to suffice.
Readers will recall that I’ve been a long-time advocate for stronger laws to prevent animal cruelty. This year, we held the first-ever New York State Animal Advocacy Day to bring together pet owners, animal advocates, law enforcement, veterinarians, animal shelters, rescues and others to fight for the toughest laws in the nation to protect companion animals. Studies have shown that animal cruelty is a bridge crime and that violence against animals can and has led to violence against people. This effort helped lead to passage of legislation I was a sponsor of to increase criminal penalties for animal fighting.
These accomplishments are a great start but there’s still more work to be completed. I agree with the governor that our top priority moving forward must be: jobs, jobs, jobs.
The governor has created 10 regional economic development councils to promote job growth and we need to make sure taxpayer dollars are wisely spent. We must focus on removing bureaucratic red tape and other obstacles that impede private sector job growth along with enacting tax cuts to help small businesses create jobs. To do this effectively, he must include taxpayers, local elected officials, and those that face the challenge of owning and running a small business in New York State.
We took the first step to providing local governments with mandate relief and now we need to further eliminate unfunded state mandates to take financial pressure off municipalities and help lower property taxes. With a property tax cap in place it’s time for a spending cap to put a limit on state government spending.
Let’s pass non-partisan, independent redistricting reform to take the power to draw legislative lines out of the pockets of politicians and into the hands of voters.
We’ve come a long way over the last six months to reforming state government and making New York open for business. But there are still miles to go.
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