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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara
"The beat goes on"
ALBANY, July 4 -- The start of summer has so far been a season of victory laps for the Cuomo administration. In the wake of a 2011 legislative session that’s received many positive reviews, the governor and key members of his cabinet have been out and about across New York State touting this year’s achievements.
Fair enough, for now. I’ve read upbeat reviews of this year’s session from statewide advocates representing business and industry, the environment, and good government, to name a few, who have welcomed this year’s successes from ethics reform to green jobs to property tax relief. To say the least, it’s been an uncommon round of applause by Albany standards.
But there’s just no denying that this year’s session produced action which, probably more than anything else, sets it apart from so many other sessions. What’s the single word that’s been most associated with Albany over the past decade? Dysfunction. That changed this year.
Here’s another change. For as long as I can recall, the end of the annual legislative session meant that Albany would be left a largely forgotten place in the public’s mind. The Capitol produced very few post-session headlines. Not this year. As I said on the floor of the Senate on the last night of the 2011 session, even with all we did there’s a long way to go, first and foremost in the area of mandate relief. Which means there’s plenty for all of us – and I do mean all of us -- to keep working on. I’ll start with these three:
1.) Medicaid. Let’s not forget that one of the session’s
significant actions – maybe the most significant – was the
creation of a Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT) that produced the recommendations
contained in the 2011-2012 state budget and remains at work on more long-term
reforms. The MRT website (http://governor.ny.gov/medicaidredesign) allows
all of us to stay
From the website’s home page, just click on the “Help Redesign Medicaid in New York” box at the top of the left-hand column. You can also review suggestions that have already been submitted;
2.) Mandate relief. Governor Cuomo has also established a Mandate Relief
Redesign Team that remains at work. You can stay up to date on this effort
through the team’s website
3.) State spending. The new state budget created the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission, commonly known as the SAGE Commission. The SAGE Commission is charged with leading the first major overhaul of the state bureaucracy since the late 1920s. My suspicion is that what we’re going to hear from this commission in the coming months will be especially eye-opening. Once again, the public can participate. The SAGE website (www.governor.ny.gov/sage) is aimed at collecting the public’s suggestions for improving the efficiency of government services. To provide input, click on the “Submit a Suggestion” link on the home page.
So maybe the best, and most hopeful, final few words on the just-concluded legislative session are these: Stay tuned.
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