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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"What's next?"

ALBANY, June 25 -- The state Legislature’s regular session concluded late last week with a flurry of agreements and actions that addressed some of our most pressing issues: prescription drug abuse, domestic violence, care for people with special needs and cyber bullying, to highlight just a few.

All of these achievements, and many others, followed the enactment of a 2012-2013 state budget that’s been widely hailed for its commitment to spend less and not raise taxes, as well as to keep building a stronger foundation for growth throughout the upstate, private-sector economy. In even broader terms, last week capped a two-year session cycle, going back to 2011, when Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature have worked together on issue after issue to turn this state around. In summarizing this year’s session, the governor said that it represents “one of the most successful and broad ranging legislative sessions in modern political history. From transformative economic reforms to historic social progress, this session was a magnificent accomplishment for the people of New York State."

So what’s next? That’s the key question. Because we can’t stop now, or rest easy. One place I believe we can find answers to this question, maybe the best answers, is a recently released study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that ranked New York as a Top 10 state for “growth, productivity and livability.” No, that’s not a misprint. There in fact was some positive news on progress being made to put the New York State economy on a stronger, better course. This latest U.S. Chamber of Commerce report reaffirms that the actions we’ve taken in New York over the past two years are beginning to work.

Before concluding our regular session last Thursday, the Legislature and the governor took another step in the right direction by approving a comprehensive strategy to boost one of New York’s most vibrant industries, the craft brewing industry, through a series of initiatives including tax incentives and regulatory reform. It was a strong statement in support of agriculture, business and tourism throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, and statewide -- a strong bipartisan effort to recognize a vibrant industry and take steps to help it grow, create jobs and strengthen other key industries.

New York's craft brewing industry offers unlimited economic spin-off opportunities. It already consists of more than 90 breweries, accounts for thousands of jobs and generates more than $200 million of annual economic activity.

This attention to the craft brewing industry was first included in a comprehensive economic strategy the Senate developed early this year called New Jobs-NY. And since not all of New Jobs-NY has been acted on, I believe it’s a great place to turn for a jump-start to looking ahead to the next legislative session.

We need to keep doing anything and everything possible to cut taxes, help businesses grow and control state spending, which is the bedrock of New Jobs-NY. I think it’s especially important that the Senate plan targets a manufacturing resurgence as the foundation of future private-sector job growth and economic security for upstate communities and workers.

The Chamber of Commerce report, “Enterprising States,” showed New York jumping 11 places into the top 10 for growth, productivity and livability. The full report can be found on the Chamber’s website at: (pp. 13-14 for state-by-state ranking, and pg. 67 for New York information). The study concludes that “states that boost exports, foster innovation, provide businesses with certainty and reasonable taxes, insist on excellence in education, and prioritize infrastructure are leading on job creation and economic growth.”

The Senate’s New Jobs-NY plan proposes to keep strengthening the state’s economic competitiveness and improve New York’s business climate through a broad strategy involving significant tax relief, much of it aimed at private-sector job creation, and fiscal responsibility and spending control across state government. Among other groups and organizations, it’s supported by leading statewide business organizations including the Business Council of New York, Unshackle Upstate and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Additional provisions of the Senate’s 2012 New Jobs-NY plan include a two-percent state spending cap; requiring a super-majority vote to increase state taxes; placing a moratorium on new taxes and fees; and new regulatory reforms to cut expensive red tape for businesses.

You can read more about New Jobs-NY on my website,

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

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
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869