POUND RIDGE, N.Y. State Sen. Greg Ball (R, C Patterson) reviewed the state legislature's last session for the Pound Ridge Town Board last week, covering topics that ranged from job creation to the tax cap to unfunded mandates.
On the subject of job creation, Ball told the board that New York needs to do better and that, right now, it is not an attractive place for businesses to set up shop.
Small businesses are hanging on by a shoe string and they need help, he said. And there are some businesses that want to expand and they need our help.
On the topic of the states economic health, Ball noted that Albany managed to pass a balanced budget this year with no tax increases thanks to bipartisan participation and said the state could be on the verge of shedding its dysfunctional image
We have a Democrat governor and a Republican senate and still managed to pass a balanced budget, he said. That might not seem like a big deal, but up in Albany it is. We did with no tax increase or backdoor borrowing.
Ball told the board that the 2 percent property tax cap may seem like a thorn in the side of municipalities starved for revenue but that it was crucial to homeowners. In fact, he said the tax cap was the most important thing to come out of Albany in the past year.
Seniors are being forced out of their homes and young professionals are living in their parents basements because they cant afford to take part in the American dream, he said.
Unfunded mandate relief, Ball said, is tied into the tax cap issue. If towns are going to give up tax revenue, the state will have to pull back on unfunded mandates. Efforts are already underway. In the legislatures last session, Ball said $126 million in mandate relief was created and a Mandate Relief Council was established.
Ball also addressed his efforts to repeal the MTA payroll tax, something he has been pushing for since this past summer. He has called for a forensic audit of the agency.
Its an authority that is corrupt to the core, he said. There has been mob infiltration and it was discovered they were carrying two books at one time," he said. "The tax represents $1.5 billion and we will have to make up that shortfall. But I believe we will repeal it next year.
In the last legislative session, Albany passed several ethic reform measures, Ball noted, including the Integrity Reform Act. The act calls for, among other things, stripping public officials of their pensions if they are convicted of a felony as well creating unprecedented transparency.
There have been changes but we need to get even more aggressive, Ball said.
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