By 2020, it is estimated there will be a shortfall of 45,000 primary care doctors and 46,000 specialists across the country due to doctor retirements and other contributing factors. This is especially problematic for rural areas where there is a particular shortage of primary care doctors. Upstate New York communities can attest firsthand to this shortage.
Improving and maintaining local roads and bridges is one investment the state can make that positively impacts our Upstate communities, economies, and motorists. Yet during budget season it is always a challenge to ensure enough state dollars are invested in this type of infrastructure for Upstate.
Our state’s unique forestry and climate, freezing nights and daytime thaws in late winter and early spring, make it perfect for maple syrup production. By all accounts, the industry is showing signs of growth. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, maple syrup production has doubled since 2012 and last year, the number of taps climbed to 2.65 million which was the most state producers have recorded since 1944.
Last year, the Assembly Minority Conference hosted a series of forums across the state to better understand the often complex problems associated with domestic violence. During these forums, victims, advocates, service providers, law enforcement, and court personnel provided valuable insights that illustrated how our laws can be improved. As a result, my colleagues and I have recently introduced a package of bills that, if enacted, would close gaps in current law and provide law enforcement with tools they need to ultimately better protect victims of domestic violence.
The Assembly Majority is once again advancing an early voting bill through committees with a vote expected on the floor in the near future. The Governor is also making his push for early voting in his budget this year. While there are slight differences between the two proposals, both would result in another unfunded mandate and change our current system when it does not need to be changed.
Unfortunately, New York has a habit of creating policies that are punishing to businesses. In the past two years, business owners in New York state have had to ingest several onerous mandates such as new wage orders, higher minimum wages, and a new paid family leave policy. Now the Department of Labor is considering another mandate, known as the “call-in pay” regulation that will, if adopted, place additional strain on those business effected.
For many New Yorkers, high student loan debt and the cost of living can make it difficult to achieve the dream of owning a home. As a result, fewer people may be able to invest in homes in our local communities. Legislation I sponsor known as the New York State Diplomas to Homeownership Program would incentivize graduates of New York state colleges to purchase homes rehabilitated by local land banks.
In his State of the State address given earlier this month, Governor Cuomo called the recently passed federal tax reform bill “economic civil war” that will raise New Yorker’s property taxes and income taxes. Unfortunately, no explanation for this statement was provided. As a result of this type of overheated rhetoric coming from the Governor and others, confusion continues to reign as to what effect the new tax law will have on New York state.
January is selected for two reasons. First, during January fewer people donate because of the cold and flu season and inclement weather. Second, given that many people make resolutions in January, the American Red Cross hopes people will consider making a New Year’s resolution to become regular blood donors.
There seems to be a substantial amount of confusion as to what effect the newly enacted Federal Tax bill will have on residents of New York state. The confusion stems from the fact that (i) taxes are complicated, (ii) what people pay in taxes depends on individual circumstances, and (iii) the political rhetoric about the tax bill and its effects has been misleading and in certain cases inaccurate. In order to understand the effects the federal tax legislation will have on New Yorkers, there needs to be a general understanding of how the federal income tax system works.