On the Issues

Education: 

It’s plain to see Common Core is failing our children and our teachers. I held a public forum in our community, so educators and parents could share what is working with our schools, but more importantly, what isn’t. That’s why I’ve made meaningful education reform a top priority and have called for a repeal of Common Core. In its place, I’ve joined my Assembly Republican colleagues in crafting the Achieving Pupil Preparedness and Launching Excellence (APPLE) Plan. Read more about the APPLE Plan here.

Corruption:

Simply put, I’m sick of career politicians abusing the public trust and our tax dollars. Your representatives should serve you, not their own selfish interests. It’s why I’ve led the push for real ethics reform. If you’re an elected official convicted of a felony, you shouldn’t receive a taxpayer-funded pension. In addition, I am calling for an independent ethics commission to investigate government corruption and opposing taxpayer-funded political campaigns. You deserve better from your elected officials. I will continue working to make sure you receive it.

Jobs:

Creating jobs remains job number one, and I will continue fighting for policies that stimulate the Capital District economy and get the 850,000 unemployed New Yorkers back to work.

Albany needs to move away from the mantra of, “How can we fine, fee and tax you today” to “How can we help you succeed today” in order for New York to truly be “open for business.”

I’ve advocated for more jobs by supporting to:

  • Lower taxes on New York manufacturers to improve their competitiveness and create thousands of new jobs across the state
  • Cut taxes for our small business job-creators
  • Provide energy tax cuts for businesses across New York State
  • Streamline the process and cut regulations for entrepreneurs to open their business

Small businesses:

Without a doubt, small business owners are the backbone of our communities and the state economy. We’ve seen what skyrocketing taxes and big government stimulus packages deliver for New Yorkers – less money, more debt and staggering unemployment. If we’re going to restore our status as the Empire State and get New Yorkers back to work, we need look no further than to our own neighbors who are operating the mom-and-pop shops and businesses that can make the wheels of our economy turn. 

I am the only candidate who can make Albany understand the needs of Upstate's private sector.

Albany needs to redouble its efforts to honestly address the five areas of taxation that impact business: corporate taxes, individual income taxes, sales taxes, unemployment insurance taxes and property taxes, including residential and commercial property.

Mandates: 

Albany unfunded mandates are crushing budgets on the local level. Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino notes that for every dollar in revenue by Rensselaer County, 90 cents is already spoken for by unfunded mandates. I’ve introduced legislation that would put a moratorium on unfunded mandates, and will continue to push for the legislature to review the effectiveness of these suffocating cost-drivers. 

Agriculture: 

Albany can show its commitment to local farms by powering our rural communities to compete in a global market. With over $1.6 billion in average sales, New York dairy farms alone are responsible for over $3.6 billion in return to the state's economy and the employment of over 28,000 people, according to the New York Animal Agricultural Coalition. 

Our right to keep and bear arms:

I believe that every New Yorker has the right to protect themselves, their family and their property. That’s why I will oppose any measure that curbs the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms, including the microstamping measure currently before the legislature. I was and continue to be a strong opponent of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2013.

Veterans:

I have proudly supported and helped pass Assembly Bill 1428-B, a veterans protection bill that will prohibit government agencies from cutting positions of employees absent on military duty. The last thing deploying military personnel should have to worry about is whether or not they will be employed upon returning from defending our freedoms. For their service, they should be thanked, not sent to the unemployment line.

Legislative Pay Raises:

So long as New York has the highest taxes and the worst business climate in the country, the very idea that Albany politicians deserve a raise is outrageous. Giving them one would be downright nuts. I will be voting no on any pay hike for legislators.

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published this page 2012-06-27 13:49:00 -0400
Steve McLaughlin for Assembly