I recently wrapped up the 2015 Legislative session in Albany, which finished eight days behind schedule, saw multiple arrests, a new Assembly Speaker and a new Senate Majority Leader.
Every year my goal is to make sure the hardworking people of Western New York get their fair share of funding, and I’m confident that we will see several positive impacts from the legislation passed in this year’s session.
I helped successfully secure an increase in funding for local school districts, libraries, Brownfield clean-up sites, parks and infrastructure projects. These increases should enhance the quality of lives for families in Western New York.
Our local infrastructure took a heavy hit from the harsh and brutal winter we experienced this year, leaving several roads and bridges unsafe to travel on. I helped secure funding from an extreme winter recovery project, which will revamp our crumbling infrastructure.
Not only did we increase funding for various projects throughout the region, but also helped save homeowners money by cutting taxes. Every homeowner will be receiving hundreds of dollars in rebates, after passing $1.3 billion in property tax cuts.
As the Ranking Minority Member on the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development, I’m proud to mention that Niagara Falls State Park will receive $4.3 million in increased funding this year and $50 million by 2020 as part of the NY Works project to upgrade and repair parks in Western New York.
My district is home to some of the region’s best state parks. The increase in funding over the next several years will continue to improve the Niagara Falls State Park and promote tourism, attracting more tourism dollars to our region.
My session highlights also include passing all 9 of the non-controversial women’s equality legislation and stricter procedures and protocols for sexual harassment cases on college campuses. The women’s equality legislation prohibits differential pay because of sex, and creates comprehensive anti-sex trafficking laws.
As a father of two daughters and a grandfather, I am proud to have helped pass these, so the women of New York State will be better protected from sex trafficking and sexual harassment on our college campuses, and also have equal opportunities in the workplace.
I was also pleased with the 7-percent increase in education aid for our local schools. As a former high school teacher, I understand the importance and necessity for teachers to have the proper resources to effectively teach our youth. I hope to continue to bring an increase in aid for our schools in the years to come.
Although we were able to secure increased funding for various projects and programs in Western New York, this legislative session will be remembered for the arrests of legislative leaders from both houses. Lawmakers had a great opportunity to join me and take a stance against corruption by passing meaningful ethics reform laws, but unfortunately that call fell on deaf ears. I will continue to call for ethics reform that includes stripping pensions from all elected officials who are convicted of a felony.
I will be having a fundraiser this Sunday, July 12th from 12-4pm at Lewiston #2 Fire Company (1705 Saunders Settlement). Join us for food, entertainment and fun for the whole family. Only $25 per person or $50 for the family!