DECISION 2012: Al Stirpe

— You already served two terms in the assembly, and you were voted out. What makes you think you deserve another shot?

In 2010, over 22,000 fewer voters cast their ballot in the 121st Assembly District than in 2008. The individual I beat in 2008 by 13,000 votes received more votes than Don Miller in 2010. I do not view 2010 vote as referendum on the job I did. I think that many of those who did not come out in 2010 will come out in 2012 and the results will be different. During the most difficult period of our state’s history I was still able to provide much needed resources to help businesses, schools, seniors and local nonprofits achieve their goals and maintain their quality service. Central New York deserves someone who will work with Governor Cuomo to keep our area going in the right direction. My opponent has only stood in the way of much of what the governor is doing. I think to create jobs and cut middle-class taxes, we need someone who will work with the Governor and that’s what I plan to do.

The biggest problem municipalities and schools seem to face is unfunded mandates. How can we stem that tide?

One big way we can help is for the state to take over a bigger percentage of all Medicaid costs, not just the growth in Medicaid. New York is one of only a handful of states that requires local taxpayers to pick up the state’s share of costs. That’s wrong. I believe the implementation of the Health Care Reform Act will help New York move in this direction. New York already has in place many of the requirements in the HCRA and the extra money from the federal government we receive towards the implementation can be used by the state to pick up a bigger share of Medicaid. And we need more shared services between local governments; for example, consolidating back office resources between school district and municipalities. I think another way to reduce costs would be to have regional health care plans for school districts. It would create bigger groups with more bargaining power and lower costs. That would be a start. I look forward to working with the governor to get the job done. Going forward it is important that we are mindful not to impose any new mandates without adequate funding.

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