ETHICS

       New York is often joked about as having one of the most corrupt state governments in the country. This reputation is frustrating for our residents and holds our state back in opportunities, because who would want to do business with such a corrupt state. The public’s trust in government is tenuous at best, and every opportunity we can take to build back that trust must be taken. For this reason I co-sponsor the Public Officer’s Accountability Act (A.3945) which would enact meaningful ethics reforms including:

  1. Reforming Member Items in the budgetary process. Currently these member items are hidden within the budget. This provision would cause each line of discretionary spending would have to be itemized which would be a tremendous increase in transparency for a process that has long lacked it. 
  2. Campaign Contribution Forfeiture for any elected official who was convicted of a felony related to their duties. The unspent funds in their campaign account would be refunded to the private persons/businesses that donated them unless they were out-of-state contributions which would be donated to an approved charity.
  3. Creates the new crime of ‘Failure to Report Corruption’ which would transform the cover-up culture into a culture of mutual accountability.
  4. Prohibition on campaign funds for personal use. Currently, many candidates and elected officials spend  campaign funds on things such as car payments, food, legal fees and rent. This provision would eliminate the ability to utilize campaign contributions to pay for these expenses.
  5. Creates a penalty for late filing of campaign contributions. Currently many candidates fail to meet the requirements as there is little or no repercussions in most circumstances. 
  6. Establishes Term Limits for legislative leaders. Currently in the Assembly we have multiple committees that have been chaired by the same person for decades. This causes a situation where one individual person can control every piece of legislation on a specific topic for decades.

VETERANS

       As your Assemblyman, I have authored the following bills addressing long-standing issues affecting our veterans and their families. I am asking for your support and attention to these bills:

  1. Upgrade the Division of Veterans Affairs to an official state department, led by a director who would be a cabinet-level official. This department would have the increased ability to coordinate veteran programs for the over 900,000 NYS veterans.
  2. Designate Veterans Day – Nov. 11 as an official state holiday and mandate that if Nov. 11 falls on a weekend, that a designated day will be mandated as a state holiday for observation.
  3. Create a Veterans Legal Defense Fund to help provide legal services to our veterans.
  4. Initiate a study with the goal of finding the best locations for three new Veterans Nursing Homes across NYS to properly care for our aging veteran population.
  5. Add veterans to the list of protected classes for purposes of public housing .
  6. Establish a Veterans Health Savings Account to help fill the gap between active duty service medical care and care through the VA.
  7. Enact the ‘NYS Green Alert’ program which will create a network to alert the public and law enforcement agencies when a veteran is missing or unaccounted for.
  8. Mandate that NYS issue all eligible unissued medals to veterans.
  9. Allow veterans with a service-connected disability the ability to use our state parks free of charge.

ECONOMIC CLIMATE

       Over the past 10 years, the state lost more than 1 million residents that had enough of the onerous tax burden, the lack of economic opportunity and the state ignoring the needs of communities outside of New York City. 

The reality is the cost of living is high, the job-creation climate in the state is hostile, and small municipalities are struggling to make ends meet in New York.  needs to focus on correcting these problems – providing tax relief to families, lifting burdens on small business and investing in our local communities – do these things and we could see some meaningful changes. 

As your Assemblyman, I am focused on improving our economic climate and support many policies and legislative ideas such as:

  • Relief for Hardworking Families
    • Make the two percent property tax cap permanent. It is set to expire in June 2020.
    • Keep the promise of middle-class tax cuts. Ensure that no scheme or excuse is used to derail the full realization of the $4.2 billion in tax relief for middle-class families by 2024-25.
    • Increase TAP funding and accessibility. The budget should increase funding to tap and adjust the income threshold to improve access to middle-class families currently shut out of the program.
  • Improve the Business Climate for Small Businesses
    • Enact the Small Business Full Employment Act. The act would provide a 15 percent personal income tax exemption and reduce the job-killing corporate tax from 6.5 percent to 2.5 percent. It would further create some tax credit incentives for hiring new employees and providing tuition assistance. Finally, it would create a panel to review and remove some of the worst job-killing regulations in our state.
  • Invest in Upstate Communities
    • Restore AIM Funding. Aids and Incentive to Municipalities funding has been threatened by the governor. AIM must be fully restored to help upstate local governments.
    • Unfunded Mandate Relief. Costly unfunded mandates must be addressed now. The state must take on more of the cost of the programs it has pushed on local governments. 
    • Invest in Infrastructure and Libraries. Increasing funding to the Consolidated Highway Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPs) by $100 million per year over five years. Increase funding to local libraries by $5 million by eliminating wasteful programs in the governor’s budget proposal.

CLEAN WATER

       All New Yorkers deserve access to clean drinking water. Recent environmental issues in Hoosick and Nassau have highlighted the need for our State to take a leadership roll in protecting our natural resources. 

I have championed efforts to protect our drinking water including:

Passing legislation requiring the Department of Environmental Conservation to keep track of communities which are being negatively impacted by pollution to better respond to and mitigate pollution. (A.1779)

I authored a bill banning 1,4-Dioxane from our cleaning products and cosmetics, a suspected carcinogen and toxic agent to the central nervous system passed with bipartisan support.

I voted to lower the threshold of “elevated lead levels” from 10 µg per deciliter of blood to 5 µg per deciliter of blood in children, which is now being followed by the Department of Health. (A.5779)

Additionally, I am advocating for the following pieces of legislation

Well Water and Water Supply Education Act 

Requires licensed home inspectors and licensed real estate agents to provide clients with educational materials if a property is to be served by a private well. (A.1194-A)

Private Well Testing Act

Requires the testing of drinking water from private wells as a condition of the sale of real property. (A.1103-A)

Safest and Strictest 1,4-Dioxane Levels

Lowers the maximum contamination levels of 1,4-Dioxane from 1 part per billion (ppb) to 0.35 ppb in potable water, ground water and runoff water from wastewater treatment plants and water supply treatment plants. (A.3583

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