By Assemblyman Will Barclay
Although we are in the midst of the holiday season, our New Year in Albany will gavel in before we know it.
This year, I’m focused on getting more jobs to our state and our region. In addition, I’ll be working with local individuals and my colleagues in Albany to help pass more synthetic drug laws that protect our communities and help close the loopholes federal laws have left. I also look forward to seeing a more equitable school aid formula enacted.
I’m encouraged by the jobs index where, in general, unemployment numbers are lower. I applaud the local efforts being made to bring jobs to this area and hope to see more jobs created in Central and Northern New York. Economists predict more growth will be seen by job-creators who employ between 60-100 workers. This seems to be coming true with places like Teti Bakery, in Volney, which will employ about 60 workers.
At the state level, we should focus on areas that are already showing signs of growth, such as technology and value-added agriculture products such as Greek yogurt, to help more jobs come to fruition. I support legislation that would establish an Innovators Corp, which would identify and encourage the growth of technology-related businesses. The Innovators Corp would be a group of four highly-qualified professionals appointed by the Governor who could recruit, retain and expand high technology businesses within New York State. These would complement the business incubators and higher education establishments we already have here.
Starting a business comes with many risks. I support cutting all application fees for new businesses by 50% for the first year, eliminate business income taxes for the first year and reduce income tax rates for the second and third year. This would enhance our “New York Open for Business” motto the state has adopted. We should also establish a tax credit for patent fees and reevaluating the red tape that has become synonymous with New York.
To assist existing business, our state should provide a tax credit for expanding and investing in New York. I sponsor legislation that would create such a tax credit.
A federal law passed and became effective in July, which included placing more drugs on the controlled substance list. As a result, a collaborative local, state and federal law enforcement effort resulted in a synthetic drug raid known as Operation Log Jam on July 25. Federal, state and local police officers coordinated the raids to occur at or around the same time across the nation.
We need to strengthen our state laws again and create more consequences. Loopholes are still being exploited and though reports to poison control are down, we need to strengthen our laws to penalize those who sell and distribute synthetic drugs. I look forward to working with people in the district to help our voices be heard in Albany.
Legislation I introduced early in 2012 helped spur the State Health Department to act and help get these dangerous drugs out of retail outlets.
School Aid Formula
I’m hopeful that we can make our state aid formula more equitable this year. This has been a priority for me since taking office but downstate lawmakers have held fast to protecting their higher-wealth districts. Last year’s budget negotiations delivered more aid to low-wealth school districts. I’m hopeful the next session will build off of those negotiations and produce permanent changes to the formula, for the sake of our all of low-wealth districts.
Cost of Health Care
The cost of health care is something I know is still a problem. More options are available but there are still people who are left out of low-cost health care options. This creates hardships and stress among those who fall within these gaps. I support legislation that would crack down on fraud and misuse within the system, to help draw down costs of services. I was glad our state was able to reinstitute EPIC during budget negotiations, which assists seniors with the cost of prescription drugs. I also support incentivizing regular health checkups and healthy living.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.
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