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Local reactions to State of the State speech

Capital District Political Action Network, which includes Albany, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Washington counties, responds to address in an email to supporters:

Governor Cuomo gave an aggressive State of the State Address today, centered around the belief that NY is the "progressive capital" of America. Vowing to pass the toughest gun laws in America, never before have our Constitutional rights, especially those to bear arms, been so threatened by an out of control state and federal government. Cuomo also touted his intention to raise minimum wage, create more casinos, wage marketing campaigns, and pass a Women's "Equality" Act that would increase access to abortions. Noticeably missing were spending cuts, a real focus on job creation and meaningful small business regulatory reforms. This is especially shocking considering Upstate unemployment has increased to 7.8% from last year!

State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford:

“New York is headed in the right direction financially thanks in part to a strong working relationship between the legislature and Governor Cuomo that has evolved over the last two years. As we embark on the 2013 legislative session I anticipate additional collaborations that will bring further improvements.

“The governor’s pledge to continue to hold the line on taxes is one I wholeheartedly endorse. This has been a key piece of our state’s rebuilding foundation and one that must remain if we are to make further strides.

“Support for our business community must also take precedence this session. We have experienced an uptick in job growth, but there is still room to grow. The governor’s focus on upstate, tourism, and his proposal to create tax free, innovation hot-spots were all encouraging. Adding tax credits and additional incentives to help the private sector create jobs will take us even further. Increasing the minimum wage, however, would hinder that growth, and is not something I can support.

“There was also a serious omission. The words ‘mandate relief’ were never uttered by the governor. When the property tax cap was approved mandate relief was supposed to be part of the package, but precious little has been done. We need to take real steps to help our local governments and schools cut costs, and focus on local needs.

“On a similar note, our high-need, low wealth school districts are at a crossroads. Some are on the verge of insolvency and are in need of a lifeline. Last year was a step toward helping better fund these districts, and additional measures to better provide for our students educational needs are essential.

“I also understand the focus on gun safety. In light of recent tragedies, something must be done, but it is wrong to adopt superficial measures that fail to confront the heart of the problem and only serve as a constraint on law-abiding gun owners. We need to take an approach that addresses the sale and possession of illegal guns, increases penalties for those who use guns to commit crimes and focuses on the treatment of mentally ill individuals who are a danger to themselves and others.

“As we look to continue the positive momentum in our state we turn our attention next to the state budget. We need to continue our recent winning record of completing work on the state spending plan on-time and at a cost people can afford.

“Overall, I see several areas where the governor and I are in agreement, and I look forward to working with him and my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we continue to get things done and help New York reach its full potential.”

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam:

"Today the Governor laid out his blueprint to move the state into the future. With so many families still struggling, my focus in the upcoming session will be the creation of good-paying jobs right here in our community. I will work with the Governor to ensure our schools receive their fair share of state aid so every child get a quality education without overburdening local taxpayers.

“In the coming months look forward to working to create a balanced budget that protects taxpayers by holding the line on spending and saying no to any new taxes.”

State Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon:

“Governor Cuomo outlined many positive proposals during his 2013 State of the State Address today, including a commitment to no new taxes, growing our entrepreneurial and innovation economy to create more good-paying jobs, helping New York maintain and expand its educational edge, along with rewarding excellent teachers with performance pay. These were good ideas and real solutions that I would support and look forward to partnering with him to achieve.

"I was hoping to hear more about a specific plan to tackle the serious challenge of New York’s unfunded mandate crisis, as unfunded mandates are hurting taxpayers and pushing local governments to the brink of bankruptcy. It is time to stop talking about unfunded mandates and actually do something; we need to pass a comprehensive mandate relief plan this session. This must be a top priority, a bi-partisan priority. Along with delivering unfunded mandate relief, we need a spending cap in place to ensure fiscal responsibility.

"I do not support the new restrictive gun control measures the Governor called for today. Like the Governor, I am a responsible gun owner, as are millions of law-abiding New Yorkers. While I have yet to see the specific details or actual legislation, I have concerns – serious concerns – that these proposals could quickly become costly mandates, drive away employers like Remington Arms and curtail the Second Amendment Constitutional freedoms of gun owners. New York State already has some of the toughest gun control laws in America; instead of weakening the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens, we should instead focus on keeping firearms out of the hands of seriously mentally ill individuals who pose a clear and present danger to themselves and others. It is time for an honest and adult conversation about mental illness, how it is reported and treated, as well as examining access to mental health care, especially for individuals or families in crisis. Enacting potentially unconstitutional and costly new gun control mandates are not the answer to keeping New Yorkers safe.”

Assemblyman Phil Steck,D-Colonie, who is looking forward to a productive legislative session:

“Today the governor presented his plan for the future of New York State and outlined how we can continue to move our state forward. I am pleased to hear the governor’s pledge to strengthen the state’s gun laws, making them the toughest in the nation and working to increase the minimum wage to $8.75. It is also time for women in New York to receive equal pay for equal work. That is why I will be a strong supporter of the governor’s plan to break the glass ceiling and bring equal pay to the workplace. I will also fight to increase state aid for our schools because our children deserve a high quality education. I look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature to get the Capital Region the resources needed to keep our communities affordable.”

Assemblyman Tony Jordan, R-Jackson, who thought agenda was ambitious, but left out some key issues:

“I’m on board with Gov. Cuomo when it comes to reducing state spending to close the projected $1 billion deficit while lowering the middle-income tax burden, but we must do more to protect New York taxpayers. We must address unfunded mandate relief and state regulatory reform during the 2013 Legislative Session to grow our economy and help struggling families.”

"While strides have been made in the last few years regarding income taxes and the two-percent cap placed on property taxes, many of New York’s spending practices and policies continue to harm state residents and the economy. Unfunded mandates drive up the cost of local spending, which gets passed on to homeowners and small business owners. New York remains one of the most over-regulated states in the nation, with nearly 49,000 pages worth of rules, fees and fines."

“The shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Webster, New York were horrific tragedies, and I agree that we must find ways keep to keep our communities and families safe. I am eager to work on global solutions that address the problem while protecting individual rights,” added Jordan. “We must put aside partisan politics and work together on finding real solutions to this problem.”

Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, said state should continue to focus on creating jobs and lowering taxes:

"I applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing that New York is the most overtaxed state in the nation and his commitment to ensuring that he will not agree to any tax hikes this year. Getting more New Yorkers back to work must continue to be our top priority this year. We need to ensure that our climate is more hospitable to business growth and development. That means lowering taxes and reducing the bureaucratic red tape that stifles job creation, as well as reducing the size and rampant spending in our state government."

"I disagree with the Governor’s stance on gun control and question the necessity of costly new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. The legacy of sportsmen and legal, responsible gun ownership is a strong one in communities across our state."

"I look forward to discussing these issues and the other topics concerning the 114th Assembly District with my legislative colleagues and Governor Cuomo in the days to come."

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