My office receives a lot of inquiries from constituents who wonder why their energy bills are so high. These inquiries are well founded, as New Yorkers pay some of the highest residential energy costs in the nation. In fact, New York’s energy costs rank in the top five highest in the country. We pay on average 19.56 cents per kilowatt hour - significantly higher than what customers pay in other states.
The 2013-14 NYS legislative session has come to an end. During the final week, hundreds of bills were passed. However, the legislation that got the most attention was legislation that legalized medical marijuana.
Unfortunately, our office often hears firsthand accounts from local residents who have been scammed. I wanted to let people know of common scams local residents have experienced recently and how to avoid scams and identity theft.
There has been some good news lately involving dairy and the local economy. New York was recently named the top yogurt producer in the nation. This is the second year our state has earned this distinction, in large part due to the Greek yogurt producers who call New York home. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York produced 741 million pounds of yogurt, up from 695 million pounds in 2012. New York also accounted for 15.7 percent of the total U.S. yogurt production in 2013.
New York is home to more than 900,000 veterans, and some estimates indicate that as many as 72 percent have seen combat. Additionally, New York is home to approximately 30,000 active duty military personnel, as well as 30,000 National Guard and reservists.
Library use has increased across the state. According to some of New York State Library’s latest statistics, visits to public libraries increased by seven million from 113 million to 120 million from 2007 to 2009. The number of items borrowed — books, ebooks, movies, magazines and more — has increased by more than 11 percent.
Recently, the Tax Foundation released a map showing the combined local, state, and federal cell phone rates. The map showed, not surprisingly, that New York residents pay the third highest cell phone tax rate in the country. Our state and local cell phone tax is 17.85 percent.