Though Progress, Work Remains


A Legislative Column from Assemblyman Ray Walter (R,C,I-Amherst)


            Over the last year, state government has made some tremendous strides towards working for the people and improving opportunities for all New Yorkers. By lowering middle-class tax rates, reducing spending and supporting job-creating initiatives,New York is finally on the road to recovery. However, years of government mismanagement dug our state into the hole we’re working so hard to climb out of. Legislators and citizens alike must be vigilant and ready to speak out against the kind of mistakes that can bring us back to the bad old days inAlbany. Recently, two troublesome proposals have come to light that show just how much work there is left to be done.


The New York State Thruway Authority Board has approved a 45 percent toll hike for commercial trucks with three or more axles, a disastrous measure that would devastate both our local and statewide economy. By forcing such a drastic cost increase on businesses, trucking companies will have less money available to sustain and create jobs and may be forced to avoid doing business inNew Yorkentirely. Groups that do business with these companies will have to pay more for their goods and services, a cost increase that will ultimately land on the shoulders of consumers. At a time when state government is focused on re-openingNew Yorkfor business, this measure would plaster a gigantic “Closed” sign on our roads.


            Another misguided initiative being floated from Albanyis Assembly bill 10807, which would offer a number of financial aid benefits to illegal aliens attending college inNew York. Obtaining a higher education is an essential component of the American Dream; a dream that is slipping away for so many of our own sons and daughters. As  parents, my wife and I work hard to save money to help our children afford a future education, I know the toll that paying for college can take on a family’s finances. That is why, in a time of economic difficulty when financial aid and education funding is so hard to come by, we simply cannot afford to extend these benefits to people who are in our country illegally. The federal government must do its job and pass comprehensive immigration reform that is fair to those willing to risk everything for the American Dream, but right now too many of our own families are in need of financial support for college and they must come first.


              While the future certainly looks brighter today than it has in recent years, there will always be work left to be done. If you have any questions or comments on the Thruway’s toll hike plan, A.10807, or any other state matter, please contact my office at 716-634-1895, or email me at

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