Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 3-25-22

State Senate’s approval of budget resolution a mistake, says Serino

This week, the supermajority in the New York State Senate approved a one-house budget resolution that includes over $9 billion in taxpayer dollars over what the governor originally proposed. That is a truly staggering number, and speaks to the fact that unfortunately, this proposal is an unsustainable political wish list.

While a number of proposals I have advocated for made it into the One-House Budget Resolution, including:

• an acceleration of the Middle Class Tax Cut that my colleagues and I initiated years ago;

• funding to support family caregivers and to implement the ‘Fair Pay 4 Home Care Act’ to reverse the state’s homecare staff shortage;

• statewide funding for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Support Program;

• a repeal of the broadband fiber optic fee; and

• funding for childcare, mental health care, infrastructure and small business assistance,

unfortunately, the resolution overall was an unprecedented spending spree that our community simply cannot afford to foot the bill for.

While residents across the state are pushing for the leaders to suspend New York’s gas tax in the wake of skyrocketing prices, the supermajority included a measure in the One-House Resolution that would only partially suspend the tax.

That move is a slap in the face to hardworking New Yorkers when you consider that it is also linked to an out-of-control spending plan that will only continue to drive up the overall cost of living in the state for years to come. With New York State sitting on a massive budget surplus thanks in part to one-time federal aid, now is the time for lawmakers to do right by taxpayers, prioritize smart investments, and put an end to runaway spending.

In addition, despite the bloated numbers, this proposal still failed to include any significant funding to prevent the spread of Lyme and tick-borne diseases and failed to provide adequate funding to bolster programs or fix the broken Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) that has left too many New York renters and small landlords in indefinite limbo.

Additionally, while I do not believe that budgets are the proper place to debate policy, this proposal fails to correct any of the public safety problems being exacerbated by ‘bail reform’ and instead includes ‘Clean Slate’ language that continues to put criminals ahead of law-abiding citizens. 

Budgets are about priorities, and this proposal shows that Albany’s supermajority once again has theirs backwards. If we want to make New York a place people want to live again instead of one they want to leave, we have start by making it more affordable so that New Yorkers of all ages can thrive.

I voted ‘no’ on the proposal for these reasons and will continue to advocate for a responsible spending plan that truly meets our community’s needs.

Sue Serino (R-41)

New York State Senator

Hyde Park

 

Amenia Democrats invite voters to meet, greet and consider newly drawn districts

The Amenia Democratic Committee (ADC) invites fellow Dems to attend their open meeting on Saturday, March 26, at 3 p.m. at the South Amenia Presbyterian Church’s Parish Hall at 229 South Amenia Road in Wassaic.

The Committee will introduce Democratic candidates and review the impact redistricting will have on Amenia voters in the upcoming elections. Local concerns and ideas are welcomed, and you can sign up for ADC-sponsored civic activities.

Invited Democratic candidates include incumbent New York State Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-18); New York State Assemblymember candidate Jill Fieldstein (D-105); New York State Senate candidate Jamie Cheney (D-43); Dutchess County Sheriff candidate Jillian Hanlon; and candidate for Amenia Town Justice Graham Spearman.

The crisis in Ukraine underscores how fortunate we are to live in an open, democratic society.

Grassroots participation is key. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.”

Come join us on Saturday, March 26, at 3 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided.

Vicki Doyle

Amenia Democratic Committee Secretary

Wassaic

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