I am skeptical of the claim, however, in light of the fact that we have passed “landmark” ethics reform in the recent past and yet ethical lapses by elected officials continue to occur.
In my mind, there are three issues that define this budget: the governor’s so-called education reform, ethics and capital spending. The education section of the budget is discussed below.
Domestic violence, harassment, and sexual assault continue to be issues that concern me. Studies reveal that such abuse occurs more than many realize. A few new laws were recently chaptered and aim to improve victims’ rights and protections. I supported all of these in the Assembly and I am glad they have been signed into law.
National Ag Week recognizes the abundant crops harvested by farmers all over the nation and the contributions they make to the economy. In New York alone, the agriculture industry recorded $5.68 billion in cash receipts in 2013, up more than $1 billion from 2010.
Recent findings by the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based research organization, should serve as a reminder to the State Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo during this year’s budget negotiations that New York needs to decrease spending, reduce state mandates and cut property and income taxes.
The Governor’s office announced in 2013 that it would use Microsoft Office365 -- an email and software management system to consolidate 27 agency email systems, improve access to applications, share calendars in a cloud-based system and save taxpayer dollars. Many aspects about the recently implemented system make sense and will hopefully improve inter-agency communication.
Many people are under the assumption that if they sign the back of their driver’s license, then they are a registered organ donor. Signing the back of your license is a good first step, as this indicates your personal wishes, but in order to be listed as an organ donor in the state registry, residents must fill out either an online form through the Department of Motor Vehicles or print and mail a form to the Department of Health. Being registered allows health care officials to better assist those who are on the waiting list for an organ.
Last year, the state spent $22.3 billion on education. In 2012, combined with the local and federal share of education, New Yorkers spent $58.4 billion on public education. This is a 56 percent increase over what was spent on a combined basis in 2002.
In the Central New York area, there have been two suspected cases of mumps in local schools this winter. These reports have understandably spurred discussions and concerns and accordingly it is important to know about New York’s vaccination requirements, childhood safety, and ways you can help protect your families from diseases that were once thought to be eradicated.
We have heard a lot from the governor’s office about the success of New York’s health exchange. The exchange was set up pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, which mandates that all Americans obtain health insurance. The exchanges, which are either set up by individual states or by the federal government (when a state decides not to opt into the program), are, in theory, supposed to provide a market for people to purchase health insurance. New York, pursuant to an executive order of the governor, set up its own exchange. Compared to other states and to the federal government’s system, New York’s exchange has had fewer reported problems.