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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara
"Next up? A new state budget"
ALBANY, Jan. 14 -- The reaction to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent State of the State address continues to pour in from every corner of the state, which is always the case. Remember that the State of the State has long been the opening act in the annual legislative session. It’s supposed to meet certain expectations, but mostly it’s one of the prime opportunities for a governor to command the stage and lay out a broad and ambitious vision. Governor Cuomo certainly made the most of this opportunity this year.
The reaction commonly breaks into two camps.
No. 1 includes all the pundits concerned with reading the political tea
leaves. For centuries New York governors have always been thought of as
potential presidential timber, and that’s no less the case with
Governor Cuomo. The substance and tone of his third State of the State
was clearly intended to fuel political speculation, mend a few fences
and solidify alliances through an enthusiastic bear hug of so many of
today’s most popular liberal touchstones – abortion, firearms
Then there’s Camp No. 2, whose adherents listen to and read the address for its detailed, specific impact on individual communities and constituencies. I’m firmly in Camp No. 2. What this governor’s political ambitions may or may not be simply doesn’t concern me. What concerns me above all else – because it deeply concerns the communities and citizens I represent – is what this governor wants to do to help us keep our employers and the jobs they create, attract new employers and economic opportunities, and provide the tax, mandate and regulatory relief that’s so desperately needed in this state.
State and local legislators like myself, as well as local leaders in business, community and economic development, education and across the spectrum, assess the governor’s agenda for its impact on the communities we represent, not on the governor’s political future. Ours is a nuts-and-bolts assessment of what it means in the strictest context of carrying out governmental responsibilities.
Traditionally, State of the States are chock full of gubernatorial ideas and short on specifics. The only meaningful sense of the agenda isn’t clear until the presentation of the governor’s proposed state budget, which Governor Cuomo is scheduled to unveil on Tuesday, January 22nd. That's where we’re going to find the all-important details and truly begin to determine their effect at the grassroots level.
Until then, I’ll stress a few priorities. The governor dedicated
a good portion of his opening speech to recognizing the dire straits of
the upstate economy. For me, this is where it all begins and ends. From
It won’t happen just with words, however. It demands the right
policies and actions. The state of upstate New York is a weak economy
that’s not producing enough jobs or generating enough confidence
throughout the upstate business community -- and a tax burden that still
makes it hard to make ends meet in New York State. In fact, the governor’s
speech was delivered one day after the release of a new statewide poll
showing that upstate manufacturers and other business leaders are far
from optimistic about the state’s economic future. According to
the sixth annual survey from the Siena College Research Institute and
First Niagara Bank, confidence among these business leaders is at its
lowest level in three years. Government regulation and taxes were cited
among the top reasons
The governor pledged no new taxes in his upcoming state budget proposal. But we need tax cuts, too. And fewer regulations.
And mandate relief. The governor’s failure to even mention mandate
relief for local governments and school districts, and local taxpayers,
was striking. Yes, one landmark mandate relief action gets underway in
2013 – the state takeover of local Medicaid cost growth, which we
approved as part
So the final opinion, for me, is this: we’ll see. Governor Cuomo took every political opportunity the State of the State offers. Fair enough.
But my overriding concern is what are we going to do to:
For these answers we can only look ahead to the third Cuomo budget proposal next week. With that proposal in hand, we’ll roll up our sleeves and once again get down to the critical work of governing.
Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara
Schuyler County Officials
Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison
Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field
Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687
Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967
Doris L. Karius, 546-5544
Barbara Halpin, 594-3683
Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385
Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517
Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482
Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335
County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133
Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222
Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222
County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181
District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383
State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County
Sen. Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senate
State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)
Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Assemblyman Christopher Friend --
Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869