September 2013

September 17, 2013                                                                                  

 

TUITION REIMBURSEMENT

 FOR VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS

I am encouraging community college students to explore the tuition reimbursement program offered by the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY). The Higher Education Learning Program (HELP) provides students up to full tuition reimbursement for as many as eighty credit hours while serving as volunteer firefighters and maintaining their grades. Online courses are available through Empire State College, and applications are due by October 1.

Volunteer firefighters are essential to the safety of our communities, and FASNY’s tuition reimbursement program is a terrific way to thank these brave individuals for their contributions. I encourage anyone considering either volunteer firefighting or community college to explore what the HELP program has to offer prior to the October 1 deadline.

To apply, candidates must first complete their local fire department’s membership process and then submit FASNY’s Volunteer Fire Department Commitment form. For information on the program and how to apply:

 

Visit: http://www.fasny.com/index.php/resources/fasny-help/

Email: HELP@fasny.com

Call Toll Free: (855) 367-6933

 

The program is made possible through a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant awarded by the Department of Homeland Security.

 

September 9, 2013                                                                                  

 

FIGHT AGAINST PLAN 2014

I am fighting to stop a plan that would make dangerous changes to water level regulations for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, threatening both property and the environment. The International Joint Commission, a bi-national agency that regulates shared water uses between the US and Canada, investigates trans-boundary issues and recommends solutions, has proposed Plan 2014 to alter the management of water levels and flows on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. I wrote to the commission with concerns on the matter and sent a copy to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office to illustrate the problems as well. I will be joining Senator George Maziarz in writing to the governor requesting him to intervene on the state’s behalf in the near future.

The increase in the lake level would result in the loss of property and beaches, with erosion decreasing the assessed value of the shoreline properties.  The expense of installing break walls to protect homes and businesses would be cost- prohibitive, and homeowners would be expected to pay a higher premium on their flood insurance because of the increased risk of flooding. The environment would also be affected as well with the release of toxins that would be encapsulated in the shoreline, pond and marsh sediments.

 

September 6, 2013                                                                                  

 

 SUMMER READING CHALLENGE COMES TO A CLOSE

My summer reading challenge recently came to a close, with numerous local students completing the task and earning official Assembly citations in recognition of their accomplishments. I want to thank the participants and the families, schools and libraries that have worked to instill a love of literature in local children.

This year’s summer reading challenge was a great success, illustrating the importance and joy of a good book for many local children. Early literacy is such an important part of the intellectual and personal development of children that we must remain focused year-round on getting kids up to speed at the youngest age possible. I offer my sincere thanks and congratulations to all the children who made this year’s reading challenge another rewarding program.

 

September 4, 2013                                                                                  

UTILITY TAX REPEALER MAKES TO-DO LIST

A bill I have sponsored to repeal a costly utility tax, has been included on a prominent pro-jobs group’s to-do list. The New York chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its Tax Reform Initiatives during a public hearing, which included enacting Assembly bill 382s, to eliminate the 18-a utility assessment. The surcharge, passed in 2009, was scheduled to sunset in 2014 but was extended for four years in the 2013-14 budget. NFIB’s support will help pressure the legislature to address this critical problem.

NFIB is a leading advocate for small business owners and the jobs they create, and they understand as well as anyone what must be done to turn our economy around. Since this hidden fee was added to utility bills in 2009, I have fought tooth and nail to take this burden off of families and job creators who are already struggling with New York’s excessive taxes. NFIB’s support for this measure shows that, in order to create the jobs New Yorkers count on, we must lift this tax immediately, and I will carry this momentum into our ongoing fight to eliminate this fee.

NFIB also included its support for a bill I have co-sponsored to cap property tax assessments for family farms. The legislation passed both the Senate and Assembly this year and is awaiting the governor’s signature before becoming law.

Assessment values per-acre have increased dramatically every year since 2007, decimating budgets on family farms that are the backbone of our local economy. This bill, approved with bipartisan support, will help our agricultural community remain the strong and vibrant job creator it has been in our region for generations.”

A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1943, the National Federation of Independent Business is the leading small business association representing small and independent businesses.

 

September 4, 2013                                                                                  

Utility Tax Repealer Makes NFIB's To-Do List

On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 the New York chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) a leading advocate for small business owners, released its Tax Reform Initiatives during a public hearing before the New York State Senate.  This list includes Assembly Bill 382s a bill I have sponsored to eliminate the 18-a utility assessment.  I opposed this surcharge in the 2009 budget and it was scheduled to sunset in 2014 but was extended for four years in the 2013-2014 budget.  NFIB's support will help pressure the legislature to address this critical problem.

Since this hidden fee was added to utility bills in 2009, I have fought tooth and nail to take this burden off of families and job creators who are already struggling with New York's excessive taxes.  NFIB's support for this measure shows that, in order to create the jobs New Yorkers count on, we must lift this tax immediately, and I will carry this momentum into our ongoing fight to eliminate this fee.

NFIB is also supporting another bill I am co-sponsoring to cap property tax assessments for family farms.  This legislation has passed both the Seante and the Assembly and is only awaiting the Governor's signature before becoming law.  Assessment values per-acre have increased dramatically every year since 2007, decimating budgets on family farms that are the backbone of out local economy.  This bill, approved with bipartisan support, will help our agricultural community remain the strong vibrant job creator it has been in our region for generations.

 

September 1, 2013                                                                                    

NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH

September is National Preparedness Month, an effort led by the Red Cross to ensure that families across the country are ready for any sudden disaster. The Red Cross has launched a website, http://www.redcross.org/prepare, with information, tools and resources to stay safe in the face of a variety of dangers, including floods, fires and earthquakes.

We must be prepared when disaster strikes, because in the face of imminent danger, it may be too late to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. National Preparedness Month isn’t just a great way to raise awareness about disaster planning, but also a tremendous effort by the Red Cross to make sure that families have the knowledge and resources they need to plan for any challenges that may arise. I urge residents to visit redcross.org/prepare and take the time to be sure they are ready for whatever the future may hold.

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