Posted by on July 10, 2015

A Statement by Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport)

“Last week, I encouraged my colleagues in the legislature to reflect on the merits of a balanced approach to governing. New York City interests, like rent control, had become the singular narrative in Albany. We owed it to working families across upstate New York to advocate for their needs with renewed focus and vigor. The push for affordable home ownership in Cortland and Norwich needed to match the intensity of the push for tenant protections. My Republican colleagues in both houses called for the extension of a property tax cap that has saved families and small businesses over seven billion dollars since its inception.

“Our efforts during crunch time paid off— the property tax cap has been extended for four more years.

“Additionally, our negotiations in Albany netted a $1.3 billion property tax rebate for an estimated 2.5 million homeowners. You never know when a family is going to need to deal with an unexpected expense. The hot water heater breaks, or your daughter needs braces. I’m pleased to know that we will be providing families with a small boost to give them some breathing room at a time when they need it most.

“Clearly, there is more work to do when we reconvene. We need to reenergize our economy, especially upstate, by providing proven job creators and emerging entrepreneurs with the freedom to tap into our talented workforce. We need to have a serious conversation about cutting taxes and reforming regulations, and I’m certain that my Republican colleagues and I will continue to lead the way. Additionally, I can’t imagine my opinion – that we need to hold public officials to a much higher ethical standard – could be considered controversial.

“Attempts to define this session have mostly been oversimplifications. Malcontents searching for headlines focus only on the high profile arrests and the illicit activities of a handful of bad actors. The governor, on the other hand, seems to be playing a parlor game with the press in which he needs to include the word “historic” in every answer. Somewhere between the nadir of the naysayers and the self-promotion of the governor lies the truth: that legislators who travel to Albany for the right reasons, who seek to improve the lives of working families, who are open to negotiate and who conduct themselves with integrity, salvaged some progress during a session rife with distractions. We saw leaders abuse the public trust. We also delivered record school aid increases, protected home owners, and increased investment in infrastructure. Our Assembly Republican Conference has internalized both of these things. We will continue following Leader Kolb’s direction on tightening ethics laws, and we will continue to build on the progress that was achieved this session.

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