Holiday Wish List: Looking Toward The 2018 Session
Nearly everywhere you look, New Yorkers are making preparations to celebrate Christmas alongside their families and loved ones. Grocery stores are brimming with people stocking up for their holiday meal, local shops are welcoming last minute shoppers and windows in homes across the state are adorned with festive lights. In just a few days’ time, my legislative colleagues and I will return to Albany fully recharged and resolved to make our great state a more vibrant place to work, live and raise a family.
Lawmakers are scheduled to begin the 2018 Legislative Session on January 3. It is my promise that the Assembly Minority Conference will work to move the state in the right direction by continuing to fight for policies that will address the state’s infrastructure crisis, improve accountability and transparency, reduce taxes in order to stimulate business and job growth and improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers.
STRENGTHENING NEW YORK FROM THE GROUND UP
From start to finish, the 2017 session was filled with dysfunction, lacking efficiency and transparency. Like most of you, I am also making a list and checking it twice to ensure the Legislature upholds its oath to the people of this state. More than ever, New Yorkers deserve better, they expect better. Among the most critical polices on my wish list for 2018:
- Address Statewide Infrastructure Issues: Our Conference will continue to call for more funding for roads and bridges across the state. Without safe and efficient ways to transport goods and resources, our economy will crumble, literally, from the ground up. We must also demand action from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA); they must refocus responsibility and resources to address the chronic deterioration of the mass transit system, overcrowded stations and delays encountered by millions of New Yorkers on a daily basis.
- Reduce Costly Mandates Imposed by the State: New Yorkers pay among the highest property taxes in the nation. Far too often, the state forces policies and programs onto localities, and those costs are then passed down to taxpaying residents. It’s no wonder the state’s population is dwindling. We will fight to eliminate unfunded mandates to lower property taxes and for sustainable economic reforms and measures that allow New Yorkers to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.
- Increase Oversight of Economic Development Programs: While the governor continues to tout the success of his economic development programs, the truth of the matter is, the upstate economy is lagging and the programs aren’t working. Albany must enact sustainable economic development reforms before taxpayers will see any returns on their investments. The Conference will work to implement overdue reforms to improve transparency and accountability in state-run economic development programs, and offer solutions aimed at fixing our ailing business climate and creating quality jobs.
- Ensure Direct-Care Workers Earn a Living Wage: Caring for people with a wide range of disabilities can be a truly daunting task, and those who do the job should be compensated fairly for their compassionate, arduous labor. It is unacceptable that direct-care workers, dedicated to assisting our most vulnerable population, are struggling to make ends meet. As we have always done in the past, the Assembly Minority Conference will proudly fight on behalf of New York’s direct-care professionals and advocate for wages that allow them to compete against other industries and earn a living wage.
Our priority in 2018 must be to help New Yorkers across the state succeed. The agenda outlined by the Assembly Minority Conference is poised to do just that. I hope that the governor and our legislative colleagues agree – these are the issues that demand immediate attention.
HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY
As we celebrate this season and look toward the next, my colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference and I vow to provide our constituents with a happy and prosperous New Year, and new start. From my family to yours, have a festive and safe holiday season.