The past year has been a tumultuous one for New York State. The national
fiscal crisis yielded a very difficult budget and deficit reduction actions,
and an ill-fated coup mired the Senate in gridlock that marked one of the
lowest points in the chamber's history. Despite these challenges, the
2009-2010 legislative session was extremely productive with the passage of
several pieces of landmark legislation, several of which I was pleased to
author, that will improve the lives of Upstate New Yorkers.
One of my top priorities continues to be economic development. Several bills
signed into law will encourage development, stimulate economic growth and
improve the quality of life in Upstate New York. The Historic
Rehabilitation Tax Credit and Main Street programs will encourage renovation
and development in our cities and villages, promoting growth that will
create jobs and ultimately decrease the strain on property taxpayers.
We helped small businesses by passing a law to create regional "one-stop"
economic development centers where business owners can learn about state
programs that benefit their businesses and receive help in navigating
sometimes complicated federal, state and local regulations, including
licensing and permitting.
And the creation of the Green Jobs/Green New York program, to be
administered by NYSERDA, will mean 14,000 new jobs and no-interest loans to homeowners who want to make their homes more energy efficient and reduce their heating bills--a very attractive proposition, especially in Central New York.
In addition, we extended the Power for Jobs program, which provides low-cost power to companies in exchange for creating and retaining jobs. According to the New York Power Authority, the program supports 240,000 jobs across New York State.
One of my other major priorities is reducing the property tax burden on
homeowners. This year, we made some progress by passing legislation that
empowers voters to consolidate government entities. Sharing services and