Power for Jobs, Government Consolidation Among Session Highlights

June 22 marked the end of this year’s legislative session. Though there were disappointments, such as the three-men-in-a-room budget negotiations when we were promised more transparency, there was also legislation passed that will assist businesses, lower taxes and create more oversight for public officials. By no means, however, is our business in Albany finished this session. The latest developments in the Senate point out the need for reform now more than ever. It is my hope that the stand-off brings with it a more transparent and open government.


I’m pleased the Assembly extended Power for Jobs and the Economic Development Power programs for a year. The program helps businesses offset the high cost of energy. The program currently supports some 241,000 jobs at approximately 480 business and not-for-profit organizations throughout the state. The extension would allow the Legislature to arrive at a more comprehensive energy solution for our state. It awaits the Senate’s approval and the Governor’s signature.

I am also happy to report that legislation that I co-sponsored, New NY Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act, passed the legislature and was delivered to the Governor on June 12. New NY (A.8501) outlines new procedures by which municipalities and citizens can initiate consolidation. This is just one step in the right direction our state has taken to explore much-needed ways to make government more efficient and save taxpayers money. Over time, this law will help to lower property taxes, limit the growth of government spending and stabilize our taxes.

Ethics reform legislation that I also co-sponsored passed the Assembly on the last day of session. Following Troopergate, there was public outcry for more accountability. This bill makes provisions for better ethics supervision. I’m pleased to co-sponsor this legislation that, if taken up by the Senate and signed by the Governor, will lead to more bipartisan oversight. The bill establishes three new bipartisan commissions and offices. Within each of these bodies, legislative leaders from both houses would be able to appoint members to serve. Currently, the governor alone is able to appoint seven members to serve on the existing Commission on Public Integrity. The new commission would provide less power to one official. The legislation also directs the Committee on Open Government to issue an annual report that summarizes the actions and reports of legislative and executive ethics committees as well.

Left to accomplish:

In addition to these legislative accomplishments, there are several major issues that still need resolution, including:

  • Property tax relief
  • Instituting unfunded mandate relief
  • Enacting a comprehensive economic development plan that creates jobs
  • Enacting a statewide energy plan that lowers costs for residents and businesses
  • Addressing New York’s projected budget deficit and continued decline in revenues.

We must return to Albany as soon as possible to address these issues. The people of New York State are demanding progress and deserve real solutions.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling (315) 598-5185.