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Catching up with Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin

Though lawmakers seemed poised to at long last enact a property tax cap this year, this popular proposal took a dive after Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced he would not bring a cap to the floor of that body. McLaughlin sees this as a prime example of the Upstate vs. Downstate battle that's always ongoing at the Capitol, and took Silver to task for blocking it.

"I think it's clearly time to get this thing to a vote," he said. "Stop giving the members protection. You have to stand up and be counted. One way or another, you have to stand up and say we're going to do it, or not going to do it."

The Assemblyman was also critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's much-lauded mandate relief efforts. Without a serious change in the way the state controls local governments and schools, he said, a property tax cap would be a win for taxpayers but a death knell for schools and towns.

"To me, they do go hand in hand," he said.

"I was a vocal critic of that. There's not a lot of meat on the bone here; it's all window dressing," McLaughlin said of the mandate relief efforts. He added there should be more private sector input, and bureaucrats should be cut out of the picture.

In fact, the assemblyman has made modernizing government a key agenda point. He's cosponsored a bill from Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Schenectady, that would see legislation and other paperwork be used only as digital copies, greatly reducing the millions state government spends on printing every year.

He also said government should adopt a 401(k)-type retirement plan for new employees and do away with the pension system, which accounts for a hefty share of state and local government spending.

McLaughlin is a member of the following committees: banks, children and families, real property taxation, small business and tourism, parks, arts and sports development.

McLaughlin invited constituents to contact him through his office in Albany (455-5777), Castleton-on-Hudson (479-0542) or by email at mclaughlins@assembly.state.ny.us.""

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