The Governor's "2015 Opportunity Agenda"

New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) today issued the following statement on the 2015 State of the State Address and Executive Budget Proposal. 
 
"The Governor’s '2015 Opportunity Agenda' provided a stepping-off point for important policy discussions and budget negotiations. As Leader of the Assembly Minority Conference, I am encouraged to see a recognition that state spending must be kept under control; that families and businesses need relief from crushing taxes; that our education system needs serious reform; and that Upstate New York deserves greater investment than what’s been provided in recent years. Those are common-sense, laudable goals.
 
How we arrive at those goals is another matter. It is our responsibility to implement policies that incorporate all of New York State – not simply the most attractive regions on an electoral map, or politically-friendly demographics. Programs that subjectively select winners and losers don’t adequately reflect the needs of all New Yorkers. Specific details remain to be seen on the Governor’s proposals, but there are initiatives with which I have serious concerns.

  • New York State won’t create jobs by raising the minimum wage and making it more expensive to hire workers.
  • The DREAM Act rewards illegal immigrants with tuition assistance but ignores home-grown New Yorkers buried under student loans and college costs.  
  • Every region in the state should benefit from the $5 billion windfall for infrastructure investment. The Governor’s proposal is too heavily tilted toward New York City.
  • The proposed small-business tax cut impacts less than 10 percent of small businesses. Giving job-creators only $32 million in tax breaks while giving Hollywood studios $420 million is insulting and irresponsible.
  • True property tax relief will only come when we lower costs on localities. For example, a state takeover of the county portion of Medicaid costs will lower property taxes.

New proposals and programs generate excitement, but we must also maintain a focus on opportunities that haven’t been completed. For two years, women’s equality reforms were used as a political football and have gone nowhere. Anti-corruption legislation has been blocked repeatedly by Democrats. An effective and comprehensive fix to Common Core testing has yet to be reached.
 
Our collective efforts on these measures can propel New York in a positive direction. I look forward to working alongside my Assembly colleagues on policies and programs from which every region of New York State can benefit."

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