December 2013 Legislative Column

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December 2013 Legislative Column            

     As the holiday season approaches, we look to the New Year with hope and thoughts of a better tomorrow. I pray that the future brings prosperity and happiness to my friends, neighbors and children.  Looking back at the past 11 months, I believe our state is at a crossroads. For far too long, hard-working New Yorkers and their families have endured the challenges of the nation’s most oppressive tax climate. The excessive cost of living and working in New YorkState is driving families and their businesses away. People are fleeing south, into regions where the road to prosperity isn’t lined with so many financial hurdles. If something is not done soon, I fear we may be headed down a path we cannot turn back from. 

     I am not the only one seeing these signs. Many of my colleagues see the signs as well, including Gov. Cuomo, who a few months ago, created a Tax Commission to explore new and innovative ways to try fix New York’s crippling tax problems. Headed by former Gov. Pataki, the Commission is made up of some of the brightest minds in the state from both the public and private sector. They will have the seemingly-impossible task of coming up with a plan that can be enacted to stimulate the economy and make living in New York more affordable.

     However, the truth is that my friends in the Assembly Minority Conference and I already have a host of ideas and bills ready to be voted on in the Assembly that would help fix our reeling economy. I sent a letter to every member of the Tax Commission with a list of those tax-relief measures, which would have immediate and lasting benefits to our communities, to our economy and to the future of New York. These measures include bills like ShopNY, which eliminates the state tax on gasoline, car seats, diapers, helmets and hygiene products to make the basic, everyday items you need affordable again and our proposition to eliminate the 18-A utility assessment, lowering your energy bill. But we don’t stop there. Homeownership is a great privilege, but homeowners in our state are burdened by ever-increasing property taxes. Therefore, we proposed prohibiting all unfunded mandates that drive up property taxes. And finally, perhaps my favorite idea, I want to make the Middle Class Tax Cut of 2011 permanent, so that the paycheck we work so hard for can go as far as possible.

     I believe these are real, concrete solutions to real, concrete problems New York families face on a daily basis. I promise in 2014 I will go to Albany and fight for these ideas, and in turn, fight for a brighter tomorrow, the tomorrow that we all deserve and want for our children.

      For more information on tax relief or any other state issue, please email me at walterr@assembly.state.ny.us, call me at 716-634-1895 or visit my office at 5555 Main Street in Williamsville.

 

 

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