OSWEGO, NY – “When I talk to people throughout the district, several concerns are mentioned. However, the subject I hear about most is taxes,” Amy Tresidder, the Democrat candidate for state senator said.
In St. Lawrence County the sales tax issue is a big concern right now as the county legislature works on the budget, she said.
“As a legislator here in Oswego, I know firsthand the challenges of making the tough decisions on our budget. Because 83% of our budget consists of state mandates, there are several costs that have been passed to counties from the state that we have no control over,” she pointed out. “However, it is our job to take the responsibility of creating a budget that is within the 2% tax cap and does not create a further burden on our residents. If a county raises the sales tax to 4%, it is a requirement that the state legislature approves that increase.”
“In St. Lawrence County, the sales tax increase did not occur because our state senator would not carry the legislation,” Tresidder continued. “This has created an even greater burden on the property tax payers in that county. They are facing $7 million in potential cuts to avoid a 20% property tax increase.”
It is important that state representatives work with local governments, she said.
“We must maintain home rule so that locally we have a measure of control over our revenue/expense equation. Our state representatives should do just that – represent us. County government should not be micromanaged at the state level,” she said.
It may not be considered a new issue, but the fact that she is running a grassroots campaign and has raised money herself has become somewhat of an issue, the candidate pointed out.
“I firmly stand by my decision to run a campaign that is funded locally. If we continue to believe that our candidates must be ‘sponsored’ by big donors because it has become the norm in political circles, we will never accomplish change of any real magnitude,” according to Tresidder. “If we keep doing the same thing, we will keep getting the same result, namely, candidates that are more interested in serving their political parties or their large money donors than their constituents.”
She has met with the directors of both the Port of Oswego and Ogdensburg and discussed economic growth as it relates to them.
“I’ve also talked to our mayor and school superintendent to understand more clearly the challenges they face. We have many assets in this district. These assets include universities, agriculture, a proximity to important infrastructure, a skilled workforce, power producers and a waterfront that has various economic potentialities” she said. “We have to remain optimistic and broad minded and I feel it is the job of our state representatives to help facilitate collaboration and partnerships to make the most of our potential.”
Her goals are many.
“I have made no secret of the fact that I am in favor of raising the minimum wage. I have spoken to several small business owners that agree that wages are not their biggest concern. If the regulations and costs of unemployment insurance could be reduced, they would be glad to invest in their employees,” she said. “I am also a big proponent of campaign finance reform so that we can attract qualified candidates from our citizenry.”
The answer to the question of retaining and attracting recent college grads and young adults to this area can be answered to an extent by those students who did decide to stay here, Tresidder explained.
“I’m not sure it’s convincing them as much as it is making them feel welcome while they are here. To do that we must invite them to become an active part of our community. Again, we get back to collaboration, something that is already occurring with our local workforce board,” she said.
Why isn’t this region more ‘youth friendly’ and how can we change that?
“We can change that just as I stated above. Getting students involved. As a community we have to tackle problems from a win/win perspective. The potential for continuing to create a working relationship with our university community is unlimited and will lead to benefits for both partners,” she said. “Our local youth should also be encouraged to participate in community events. Encouraging parental participation at the school level is important also. Community service can start early and we should encourage that.”