Skelos behind Bruno’s upstate efforts

Dean Skelos, the Long Islander who replaced local political heavyweight Joseph Bruno as Senate major
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, left, and Sen. Hugh Farley, visit with Carol Constantino, owner of Noteworthy Industries in Amsterdam, at FMCC Thursday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, left, and Sen. Hugh Farley, visit with Carol Constantino, owner of Noteworthy Industries in Amsterdam, at FMCC Thursday.

Dean Skelos, the Long Islander who replaced local political heavyweight Joseph Bruno as Senate majority leader, said Thursday he will continue Bruno’s commitment to property tax relief and upstate economic development.

Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, was joined by local and state leaders at Fulton-Montgomery Community College after he toured the area with state Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna.

“People in the Mohawk Valley and so many other regions of the state that I’ve traveled, they’re looking for assistance from the state, not a handout from the state,” Skelos said.

Skelos said property tax relief is a top concern throughout New York and it is important to be fair to all regions of the state, a lesson he learned from Bruno while serving as his deputy for 14 years.

“We need mandate relief for our school districts, and we have to make sure that the state is adequately funding our school districts and paying its fair share,” he said. “There are ways that we can make this real, and that’s what our intention is.”

Skelos pledged that the state will help Canajoharie once Beech-Nut closes its factory there in 2010 to move to the Florida Business Park in Montgomery County, taking with it 350 jobs and millions of dollars in taxes and fees it pays the village.

He said he would look to provide state money to make sure that the building and infrastructure are improved to entice another company to come in and operate at the factory in Canajoharie.

“That’s something that I would consider a very smart investment,” he added.

Farley said that he has known Skelos for years and considers him a personal friend.

“I could not be more thrilled with this young man,” Farley said. “He’s got the energy, the vitality of like nobody you’ve ever seen in public office. He’s been all over this state, from one senate district to another.”

The visit to FMCC comes in the middle of a whirlwind statewide tour in which Skelos has visited Buffalo, Rochester, Utica, New York City, Binghamton and Herkimer, among other places.

He planned to visit Schenectady later Thursday and Glens Falls on Monday before going back to Buffalo later next week.

Thursday’s wasn’t the first visit to the area for Skelos. He said he and his wife have taken day trips in the past to the area to purchase leather gloves.

Although he supports a property tax cap, Skelos said that Gov. David Paterson’s proposal for a cap is only part of the solution.

He expressed optimism that Paterson will work with the state Legislature to find a solution that both parties can agree on.

“I believe Gov. Paterson, up to this point, has established a very good tone in Albany,” he said.

“[Paterson understands] that all 212 legislators are elected to represent their constituents, to speak up and not to be bulldozed like Gov. Spitzer wanted to do.”

Republicans will maintain the Senate majority by convincing voters that a Republican majority is necessary for fairness and balance across the state, Skelos said.

“To improve the quality of life, to control real property taxes, if we’re going to have real economic development and job creation, then you have to maintain the Senate majority,” he said. “That’s my commitment.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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