BY ASSEMBLYMAN DAN STEC
With the 2018 Legislative Session upon us, I expect to see a continuation of many of the issues we faced last year such as ethics, infrastructure needs, education funding, opioid crisis along with addressing environmental concerns such as invasive species.
In November, the voters in New York approved the Pension Forfeiture Amendment authorizing judges to reduce or revoke the pension of a public officer convicted of a felony related to his or her official duties. This was long overdue and the citizens of New York deserve leadership which is transparent and honest. There must be zero tolerance for corruption and we need to continue to hold our elected officials to the highest of standards.
As we begin 2018 with a $ 4.4 billion budget deficit, we must look at ways to cut spending and reduce the burden of unfunded mandates that are driving up our property taxes. New York state is one of a handful of states that passes along Medicaid costs to the local municipalities.
New York state’s Medicaid spending is out of line with the rest of the country’s and is the number one state imposed cost for counties and more needs to be done to reduce this cost to our taxpayers.
We must continue to pursue economic development opportunities and create a more business friendly environment that will create jobs and provide much needed revenue for our communities.
Adequate funding for education is always a priority. We will continue to focus on increasing the Foundation Aid for our schools.
Infrastructure continues to be a major need across the state especially our water and wastewater systems. We have made some progress with addressing the many failing wastewater systems around the state but much more needs to be done. Many of our communities remain under consent order by DEC and simply do not have the resources available to replace their current systems.
Broadband and cellular service in our underserved Adirondack communities will continue to be a priority. This service is vital to our children’s education, economic development and public safety.
We will continue to address invasive species in our waterways and educate boaters about the importance of keeping our lakes clean of invasive species and preserve local ecosystems. Preventing the spread of invasive species in our waterways will ensure that our communities will remain a vital economic asset for tourism for generations to come.