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ALBANY UPDATE

  • Date : March 13th, 2022
  • Author : Joe DeStefano

State legislators are back in Albany for the 2022 session and the Assembly Republicans are focusing their efforts on reversing the crime wave, battling runaway government spending and inflation, and pulling the state out of the depression caused by the COVID crisis.

Law enforcement and public safety groups from Long Island have been travelling to the Capitol to rally for the repeal of the bail laws that have caused a crime wave across the state. Images of people beaten on the streets, smash and grab robberies and the politicians turning their backs on rioters and looters have horrified a public that is demanding a repeal of the dangerous bail measures and a return to a more sensible rule of law.

That we had to suffer another shooting of police officers last Friday in Harlem is both unconscionable and tragic. As our prayers go out to the families of these officers and the communities and neighbors devastated by this senseless act, we have to ask why there are people in our society who think it’s okay to possess illegal guns and blast away at the cops. The elimination of bail laws, district attorneys who won’t prosecute crimes and politicians who turn their backs while rioters attack government buildings and torch cities, sends a message to people like this.

The tragic message the weak-on-crime politicians are sending is that criminal behavior is acceptable. It is not, and until the laws are enforced the way they were written to protect the public, crime will continue to escalate into these heinous acts. Defund the police and the pro-criminal stance of the political Left are reckless and dangerous. Let’s refocus on public safety and protecting the law-abiding citizenry of our state before this gets even worse.

The bloated budget proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul should be no surprise to anyone who has lived in New York in the last decade. Her $216 billion plan would smash the record for state spending, taxes and fees if passed as it stands. As history has shown, that number could go even higher depending on the budget negotiations of a legislative Majority that has shown zero interest in fiscal prudence. Last year for example, the executive budget started at $196 billion, and by the time the Progressives in the Legislature were done, taxpayers were forced to write a $212 billion check.  

Instead, I will aggressively push for the Assembly’s “Inflation Relief & Consumer Assistance Plan,” a rescue package created by the Assembly Republicans that calls for a two-year suspension of state sales tax on many everyday purchases New Yorkers rely upon such as gasoline, household products, to-go food orders and personal-care items. This is the relief the taxpayers need now, not the convoluted spending of Gov. Hochul and the Progressive Left.

Right out of the gate, the governor’s budget ignored the two percent spending cap the state has imposed on other levels of government to rein in excess spending and give the taxpayers a break. At a time of skyrocketing inflation and an economy that is punishing low and middle-class workers, the state breaking records for largess is not the recipe for recovery.

To put this spending spree in perspective, consider that it’s more than twice the budget being considered in Florida, which has more residents than New York. Bottom line: Greedy politicians have turned New York into the “Vampire State” spending magnitudes more than states which, ironically, New Yorkers can’t wait to flee to. We need tax cuts to fight the worst inflation in four decades and crawl out of the hole caused by the COVID closures and mandates, not more government spending.

While the New York City politicians who control Albany continue to throw money at their special interests and lock down the rest of us, we are focusing on proper funding for the health care workforce, education and infrastructure. These are vital areas for improvement, especially since there are significant sums of money from the federal government to really make an impact.

Putting health care workers on the unemployment line because they refused the untested vaccines was deplorable. Setting our children back by closing their schools and covering their faces with ineffective masks was even worse. And now they are the target of the jabs. We are being tracked and controlled by vaccine cards and mandates and the heavy hand of government is going to get worse. People across the state are marching against this tyranny and rightly so.

The fact remains, living in New York is getting more and more difficult. The business climate is toxic and the taxes and regulations are shocking. Gov. Hochul’s budget does not address any of these issues. Our budget priorities in the areas of health care, education and infrastructure, in addition to the freeze on the state sales tax, will benefit New Yorkers dramatically more than the tax and spend plans of the Democrats.

The trajectory we are on is unsustainable and people are leaving in droves forcing the rest of us to pick up the tab. I, for one, won’t be giving up the fight. The wave of change is heading our way and the Republicans are girded for the fight.