Why They’ve Failed:

While the Senate has signed off on an election-year tax rebate check for residents, it has yet to examine fully ways in which property tax relief can be achieved at the local level. The property-tax crisis has played out with almost unprecedented school budget defeats across New York State. The Senate has failed to establish an independent budget review office to guarantee expenditures match state revenues. The state is in debt too much and continues to spend too much, leaving no resources for real property tax relief.

New York State is one of only two states in the union that pass 50% of Medicaid costs to counties. A cap isn't enough. The state legislature needs to step up to the plate and give the taxpayers some real relief and take back the cost of Medicaid from the counties. For example, because New York has not taken back this crippling mandate, in 2006 Westchester taxpayers will be burdened with $188.5 million for Medicaid!

While four environmental Super Bills were being promoted in Albany, the State Senate failed to act on three of them. The Community Preservation Act would have given all New York cities and towns a new funding mechanism to preserve their natural and historic heritage. The Clean Water Protection / Flood Prevention Act would have fixed the gaping loophole in the state's wetlands protection law by giving the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to protect wetlands that were once, but not currently, protected by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Bigger, Better Bottle Bill would have expanded New York's bottle law to include non-carbonated beverages such as bottled water, iced tea, and sports drinks, which comprise more than 25% of the beverage market, and generate new funding for environmental protection.

The Senate Republican majority has failed to act on several major pieces of government reform legislation. In particular, the Senate majority chose not to support a measure that would create a nonpartisan panel to handle redistricting, instead it preferred to keep the current system in place that depends solely on political maneuvering between the Assembly, Senate and Governor's office. The Senate also failed to support two separate measures that would ban gifts from lobbyists to legislators. It also failed to enact any campaign finance reform for the state.

The Senate Republican Majority failed to take action on a bill that would have allowed electric ratepayers to conserve energy, help the environment and save on their monthly bills, by having the option of obtaining a Smart Meter. Smart Meters are in-home devices that allow the ratepayer to see their usage and pricing in "real time", five minute intervals.

In addition to its role as one of the finest health care providers in the state, Westchester Medical Center employs over 3,000 people. It’s a $1.1 billion economic engine for the region. We here in Westchester have worked hard to ensure its success. We recently delivered an additional $57 million in aid, and still, the state has not stepped up to the plate. What's worse is that although both houses have now passed a bill that would help the Medical Center, they did so without negotiating and gaining consensus with the Governor, who historically was not in favor of state relief for the Medical Center.

  Paid for by Committee for Mike Kaplowitz © 2006
Web site created by Pine & Palm Productions