It's Time for The Legislature to Get Back to Work
In their first major public action since we passed the budget in early April, Majority politicians in the Senate and Assembly convened a virtual hearing this week for small business owners, advocacy groups and lawmakers to discuss the federal governments economic response to the COVID-19 crisis. Youd be hard pressed to find a legislator who is more about listening to our small business community than I am, but I thought the focus of the hearing was a bit confusing.
Why wouldnt state Majority want to focus on the state governments response?
If you want to change things for the better, I believe its more important to look in the mirror than point fingers. Since the beginning of the outbreak, our Conference hasnt been blaming Washington. Weve been doing the work we were elected to do. Our Small Business Emergency Recovery Act wouldve used the states $890 million settlement reserve fund to distribute needed capital to small businesses. It wouldve offered zero interest recovery loans, repurposed all existing development tax credits specifically for small businesses and delivered real regulatory relief.
Our Conference sent a letter to President Trump on behalf of New Yorks farmers. The administration responded by granting our request that they extend the H2-Visa program for farmworkers. We also sought federal reimbursement for lost agricultural revenues. The administration responded by creating the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance program, $16 billion of which is earmarked for direct support based on actual losses for agricultural producers.
We rejected the idea of a one-size fits all approach to re-opening our statewide economy and pressured the administration to authorize a regional approach to getting back to work. We joined teachers, parents and administrators in speaking out against the governors plan to reimagine our statewide education system by eliminating classroom learning. Most importantly, we reject the notion that government should continue to be a one-man show. Its time for the governor to relinquish his emergency authority, and its time for lawmakers across the state to return to Albany and get to work.
Theres so much to do in the coming weeks. We should be holding bipartisan hearings to investigate the crisis in our nursing homes. We should be holding bipartisan hearings to find out why the Department of Labor has taken so long to process urgent unemployment claims for individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own. And we should be working to make sure were getting our local economies moving again as quickly as we can and as safely as possible.
Assembly Minority are ready to get back to work. We dont have any interest in blaming Washington. We want to get results for the people who matter most to us- our constituents.
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at email@example.com, or find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook.