As we begin the 2015 Legislative Session, I am excited and motivated to pick up where we left off last year. Despite my energy coming off a thrilling campaign season, there are many questions that remain unanswered. Issues such as Common Core, improvement of New York’s business climate, and a more stringent ethics package were unfortunately not properly addressed last year. I will work to ensure that they come to the forefront during this year’s session.
Before we even began this year’s session, the news broke about Speaker Sheldon Silver being under federal investigation for violating state law and filing an incomplete financial disclosure. It is almost as if we can expect this kind of poison to come out of Albany every couple of months. If the slew of corrupt Assembly members over the past few years wasn’t enough, now the Speaker of the Assembly has joined them. I am disgusted by this abuse of public trust, and that is why I have sponsored legislation for several years that would strictly punish those who steal from taxpayers and deter other members of the legislature from acting similarly. The Public Officer’s Accountability Act and Assembly Bill 377, a bi-partisan effort, strips pensions from those convicted of certain felonies and more tightly regulates lobbyists and those who bid on public contracts, and bans public officials from holding office if convicted of certain felonies. It’s time for the legislature to make partisanship a thing of the past and restore the public’s faith in The People’s House.
Last year, the implementation of Common Core played a large role during the legislative session. I have already expressed disapproval regarding Gov. Cuomo’s decision to veto legislation that he himself crafted that would have protected teachers from Common Core tests being counted against Annual Professional Performance Reviews. There is still much more work to be done to ensure that teachers, parents and students, the ones actually experiencing Common Core, are comfortable and can foster effective classroom learning. I will work with legislative leaders and whoever is appointed Commissioner of Education to develop a plan that will protect those who work with these standards on a daily basis.
An issue that has been far too often ignored has been aid to small businesses. New York has literally tens of thousands of pages of business regulations and every year there are major businesses, such as Bausch & Lomb and Remington Arms, which relocate out of state due to the high taxes and an oppressive business environment. We need comprehensive tax and regulatory relief to be the driving forces of our economy, not small tax-free zones that reward a select few. Start-Up NY has been painted as a way to rejuvenate New York’s economy, when in reality it only erodes our tax base and punishes businesses already in New York that cannot afford to relocate within these zones. We must enact large-scale business relief and allow the free market to flourish in order to see New York once again become the Empire State.
Assemblyman McLaughlin represents the 107th district, which consists of parts of Rensselaer, Columbia and Washington counties. For more information,
please visit Assemblyman McLaughlin’s Official Website