New Year's Resolutions 2015

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                                                      Ray Walter’s Legislative Column            Making New Year’s resolutions is a time honored tradition. It’s when people look back at what has been accomplished over the last twelve months and where we can make improvements in our personal and professional lives.  Here are some of the resolutions I’ll be focused on as your representative in the New York State Assembly.

 

            First resolution, begin major repairs to critical infrastructure in upstate New York. The record setting snow storm we were already hit with this winter has reinforced the need for drastic improvement to our local roads and bridges. The state recently received over $5 billion as a result of a bank settlement made by the Attorney General. I propose that we use the majority of that settlement money to repair our failing roads, dilapidated bridges and ensure that we are prepared should another seven feet of snow drop from the sky.  I would also resolve that we get rid of the Thruway Authority and merge it with the Department of Transportation in order to eliminate needless layers of bureaucracy and save taxpayers money.

 

My second resolution for 2015 is to renew efforts to eliminate unfunded mandates that drive up property taxes. It is a quintessential part of the American Dream to own your own home, yet homeowners in our state are burdened by constantly rising property and school taxes as a result of Albany mandates. That’s why I am co-sponsoring legislation that would prohibit state mandates unless the state government pays for them in full.  This would lead to real property tax relief, not the typical tax gimmicks you hear coming from Albany.

 

Third, lower the highest personal income and small business tax rates in the nation. The very least we can do is make the Middle Class Tax Cut of 2011 permanent so that the paychecks we earn can go as far as possible.  Also, in order to make Western New York competitive again, we need to phase out the Corporate Franchise Tax on manufacturers. New York seems to have this terrible habit of forcing hardworking families and good paying jobs out of the state.  With all of the investments the state has been making to attract new business to WNY it would be nice to benefit our existing job creators with a little (or a lot) of tax relief as well.

 

The final resolution is to overhaul the state’s education policy and ensure that it’s created by teachers not bureaucrats, focuses on learning not testing, and invests in our classrooms not corporations. Sate Education Commissioner King is stepping down so it is critical that the Board of Regents selects someone who will roll back the botched implementation of Common Core and stabilize our public education system.

 

So for 2015, I promise to focus on these ideas, and in turn, fight for a brighter tomorrow. I hope that the New Year brings you and your family all the happiness and prosperity you deserve.

 

For more information on any of these initiatives 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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