Four Westchester legislators attended Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday and issued this statement on his plans for 2014:
Four Democratic members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL)—Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining), Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh), MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson) and Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers)—commended Governor Andrew M. Cuomo for his pledge to further tax relief for New York’s residents and business owners while also continuing to bolster the state’s economy, as detailed in his State of the State address today.
“Governor Cuomo has an enduring vision of a better New York, where living here is more affordable to working families and seniors wanting to age in place, along with young professionals and new residents wanting to move up the economic ladder,” said Borgia. “His focus on creating greater prosperity across the state has been the cornerstone of his efforts since taking office, and it is obvious that he is continuing in this direction. I applaud his leadership and resolve.”
Borgia and her three BOL colleagues, all in attendance at Governor Cuomo’s address today, heartily approved of his $2 billion plan to freeze property taxes for two years and then limit property taxes to annual household incomes. This proposal was announced along with a number of reductions in business taxes for companies, including upstate manufacturing firms. Also mentioned by Governor Cuomo were the new tax-free zones near college campuses, a program that was approved by the Legislature and went into effect on January 1; and the 20% increase in Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (MWBE) contracts across the state in the past year, an ongoing initiative that will involve even more MWBEs this year. Governor Cuomo’s continuing focus on critical infrastructure needs, like the new Tappan Zee bridge project, is helping to spur job creation as well, Borgia noted.
The four Democratic legislators also said they were pleased that Governor Cuomo proposed in his address to fight property tax increases through the consolidation and sharing of services among municipalities, school districts and government-related agencies.
“The smart way to save money now for taxpayers is to look for ways to reduce the redundant delivery of services and programs across our communities,” said Jenkins. “In Westchester, we have been working hard to identify and implement ways to do this, and I appreciate knowing how important the Governor views this work.”
Governor Cuomo’s dedicated efforts at making New York the nation’s leader in education drew high praise from the three legislators as well. Employing new technologies in the classroom, fighting disparities in school resources and providing full-day Pre-Kindergarten statewide were initiatives mentioned in today’s address that “show our governor is serious about giving our youth the learning and support they need to better themselves—and our communities,” said Williams.
“Governor Cuomo’s grand vision for a better New York is only matched by his big heart for those residents in need and wanting to turn their lives around,” remarked Shimsky, noting that the governor’s address also promised job creation for former convicts to reduce recidivism and a renewed pledge to pass the Women’s Equality Act.