2014 State Legislative Breakfast: Lawmakers Outline Progress, Priorities

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Courtesy photo. State Senator Cathy Young and State Assemblyman Andy Goodell at 2014 State Legislative Breakfast.
Courtesy photo.
State Senator Cathy Young and State Assemblyman Andy Goodell at 2014 State Legislative Breakfast.

Article by
Walt Pickut

New York State Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell spoke and took part in a lively question-and-answer session before a gathering of Chautauqua County industrial and business leaders on Friday morning, April, 11 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. The event was staged by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.

Senator Young opened her remarks by stating that for the fourth straight year, by working together, the New York legislature and Governor Cuomo passed an on-time budget with the added benefit of lowering state spending by 2 percent. “And thanks to the people of Chautauqua County for rolling up their sleeves,” Senator Young added, “and making New York a better place to live and do business.”

Senator Young listed three of her legislative priorities for the coming year.

  1. Making sure that the right proportion of the $8 billion allocated for hospitals in the state reaches Chautauqua County to support hospital operations and prevent hospital closings.
  2. To craft and pass “Access to Home” legislation aimed at helping disabled citizens, with special emphasis on disabled veterans, gain assistance and greater independence in activities of daily living in their own homes.
  3. Craft and enact powerful welfare reform legislation combating fraud and abuse. Senator Young is working closely with Assemblyman Goodell on this high priority project.

Assemblyman Goodell said that he appreciates the fact that Governor Cuomo agrees that a top legislative goal is to make New York State a better place for business. While progress has been made in decreasing income taxes, other taxes and utility rates for businesses, Assemblyman Goodell says that a critical but poorly addressed issue remains to be tackled: the practice of “backdoor borrowing” in which state government can borrow money in ways that are not approved by or apparent to the people of the state.

Assemblyman Goodell listed three of his legislative priorities for the coming year.

  1. Craft and enact powerful welfare reform legislation combating fraud and abuse and creating better ways for welfare recipients to get off of welfare. This is one of the projects on which Assemblyman Goodell and Senator Young are collaborating.
  2. Craft and enact legislation to open a wider range of options among health insurance plans which employers are mandated to offer their employees. This is a bipartisan project within the State Assembly.
  3. To streamline and make more rational unemployment compensation plans which are currently strong cost-drivers for New York State industry.

Among the many issues addressed during the question-and-answer period were concerns about the Common Core curriculum. The legislators were able to announce that a number of common sense changes have now been made in response to input from the public and from educators. It is also becoming better understood the education should be more closely connected to future employment needs.

New York State Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell concluded by repeating their thanks to the citizens, business and community leaders of Chautauqua County for their enthusiastic involvement in local and state government.