- New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle
(R,I, C - Port Jefferson) announced he is conducting a broad, grassroots examination of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed executive budget and meeting with local stakeholders to hear firsthand how the budget impacts local groups, organizations and individuals.
"The State has a $10 billion budget gap that demands we realign priorities, eliminate waste and make very difficult decisions about programs and services," LaValle said. "We have a $130 billion budget and must work within its footprint."
"I am determined that the budget process be open and transparent," LaValle said.
"Those impacted by the budget deserve a chance to be a constructive part of the process," added LaValle, Chair of the State Senate's Higher Education Committee. "Public participation is key to crafting a state budget that reflects the values and concerns of all New Yorkers. By holding meetings, forums and roundtables with local stakeholders, I can hear what they think they would like from this year's budget."
"The public has spoken clearly, loudly and specifically," LaValle said, "about taxes, about jobs
and that we must act to provide relief." LaValle said, the Senate has moved quickly to pass legislation voters demanded, including:
• The Job Creation and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2011 and State Spending Cap - a three-part plan to encourage the creation of new private sector jobs and ensure fiscal responsibility, including the enactment of a two percent state spending cap and requiring a two-thirds 'super majority' vote to increase taxes.
• Property Tax Cap - this legislation places a cap on the growth of school property taxes at two percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less.
• Mandate Relief - would require any state mandated program imposed on municipalities or school districts, which created any net additional cost in excess, to be funded by the state.
LaValle said that he has met and will meet with more than a dozen groups in his district, in a number of forums to hear about the budget's impact, including:
• Riverhead/Southampton Towns.
• Environmental Roundtable - more than 70 individuals from more than a dozen groups spent two hours with Senator LaValle and Assemblyman Fred Thiele
to hear about environmental issues of most concern to Suffolk County.
• Longwood Legislative Breakfast - a gathering of more than 25 school districts, including superintendents and school boards.
• Higher Education Committee Roundtable examining the Executive Budget's impact on SUNY.
• Higher Education Committee Roundtable examining the Executive Budget's impact on CUNY.
• Higher Education Committee Roundtable examining the Executive Budget's impact on independent colleges.
• New York State United Teachers.
• Hospital CEOs.
• School superintendents and school boards.
• Parent teacher associations and parent teacher organizations.
LaValle also urged constituents to take part in his community survey, available online at his Senate website: www.senatorlavalle.com or www.nysenate.gov/senator/kenneth-p-lavalle. The survey asks several questions about legislation and taxes and includes an open ended question to enable respondents to share what issues impact them the most.
LaValle said the results of the survey will be made public next month.