WAR OF THE WORLDS: NY’S BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS

            Albany’s apathy toward Western New York’s needs has gone on far too long. Entrenched career politicians continue to expand social spending and feed New York City’s bottomless hole of infrastructure and Medicaid desires at the expense of hard-working, middle-class families in our community. Year after year, frustration mounts as billions of dollars are funneled downstate in exchange for political allegiance and upstate roads and bridges continue to crumble.

            Although we have made progress for farmers and successfully courted valuable new businesses, my main focuses this year are restoring parity to infrastructure funding, restoring the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) funds taken from our schools in 2010, and aiding our struggling small businesses.

            Infrastructure funding is a matter of life and death. With some predicting that the upstate-downstate infrastructure funding gap will increase to $4 billion this year, a recent Rochester area story exacerbated the issue by demonstrating the desperate state of our community’s roads and bridges. Furthermore, the Lake Ontario Parkway and multitude of canal bridges in my district are in dire condition and cause significant automobile damage and safety concerns. In addition, limited access to this road prevent tourists from accessing Oak Orchard Creek, named the best fishing spot in the U.S. for Monster NY Brown Trout in 2013. Join me in this fight and tell Gov. Cuomo and Albany’s elite that we are part of New York too and deserve our fair share.

            An investment in our children is an investment in us all. Unfortunately, New York City politicians do not agree. They slashed billions from the state education budget in 2010 and have since ignored pleas from the education community to return what is rightfully theirs. I have led the charge to restore the GEA and this year is no different. I sponsor multiple bills to end these unfair cuts that limit our students’ opportunities and threaten inspiring teachers and after-school programs. This has to be the year we fully fund our schools. 

            As a small-business owner for over four decades, I know firsthand what it takes to create jobs and grow New York’s economy. Raising the minimum wage is not the answer. A $15 minimum wage will undoubtedly cause businesses to leave the state and, according to the Empire Center, would ultimately cost the state 200,000 jobs. What we need are large-scale tax and regulatory cuts for businesses instead of pay-to-play scenarios and “buying votes” with these bizarre gimmicks. Cutting business taxes will create jobs and provide greater incentives for business owners to stay in New York and keep profits local. I will fight for the mom-and-pop business owners in this year’s budget because they are the lifeblood of our economy.  

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