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Hawley votes against so-called deficit reduction plan

Batavia's representative in Albany issued a statement this morning critical of a legislative plan to reduce spending because, he said, it hits Western New York harder than wasteful downstate interests.

hawley_assembly.jpgAssemblyman Steve Hawley said he voted against the plan.

"Yes, tough choices need to be made, but once again the downstate leaders have attempted to balance their inflated spending on the backs of Western New Yorkers," Hawley said in a statement. "Just as I voted against the excessive 2009-10 State Budget, I also voted against this "reduction" plan that does nothing but further shift the burden of Albany's irresponsible spending onto the backs of hardworking Western New Yorkers."

(UPDATE: The Batavian's news partner, WBTA, spoke with Steve Hawley this morning. Listen (mp3).)

The Buffalo News reports that the deficit reduction plan leaves New York still in the hole about $1 billion. The News characterized the cuts as "politically painless."

"Putting off the pain" is how the Albany Times-Union described the so-called deficit reduction plan.

After railing against Gov. David Paterson's deficit reduction plan for more than a month and a half, legislative leaders essentially endorsed half of his proposed measures. However, they spared themselves the political risk of cutting aid to schools that the governor says most districts -- sitting on plenty of reserves -- could have afforded. Instead of going along with an admittedly tough, unpopular move that the governor could still make, lawmakers opted to use $391 million in federal stimulus money that the state was holding for next year.

In an editorial, the Buffalo News also raps the legislature for its inaction, and includes this gem:

Rare is the politician who seeks office based on the promise that he will spend less on your children’s school and your grandmother’s hospital. But New York spends so much more than any other state on both functions without making our offspring smarter or our elders healthier. Like other states, our schools and health care institutions will simply have to make do with less money.

The New York Times editorial says the blame for the state's spending problems rests primarily with the Senate.

The State Senate, on the other hand, has done little more than issue press releases. Senators are too busy eyeing next year’s elections, especially those lawmakers with the least political security — that is, a few suburban Democrats in dicey districts and all 30 of the Republicans, who want to regain the majority next year.

They don’t want to do anything unpleasant or really difficult like pare state expenses in midyear — in other words do their jobs — even if it means facing an even larger deficit in April, perhaps as high as $10 billion.

Hawley's full statement following he jump:

After months of knowing that this year's revenues would force budget cuts and after weeks of returning to Albany with no agreement on the table, I was pleased that both houses were able to come together to agree on some of the necessary cuts.  However, by taking next year's federal education funds, cutting aid to municipalities (including to the City of Batavia) and reducing access to health care in rural communities, like those in Western New York, this plan is full of problems.

Yes, tough choices need to be made, but once again the downstate leaders have attempted to balance their inflated spending on the backs of Western New Yorkers.  Just as I voted against the excessive 2009-10 State Budget, I also voted against this "reduction" plan that does nothing but further shift the burden of Albany's irresponsible spending onto the backs of hardworking Western New Yorkers.

Instead of adopting the many proposals to reduce the deficit that I proposed along with our Conference, downstate leaders decided to turn their backs on implementing real solutions.  Under the cover of darkness, with smoke and mirrors, after four weeks at a cost of $322,000, downstate leaders adopted the old adage of "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul."  Only they robbed next year's federal money from Obama to pay Shelley, Dave and John.

On top of these hurtful cuts, this plan also includes cuts to community colleges and Roswell Park as well as cuts $10 million from Timothy's Law, causing more increased costs again for small businesses.  Additionally, this plan cuts fees for out-of-state CPAs but does nothing for those instate.  They did the same thing to insurance small businesses last year, sending a consistent message that Albany does not care about New York State small business and further weakening our state's economy.

This plan cuts too little and doesn't address the nearly $4 billion deficit we have this year.  What's worse is cutting $391 million from education and replacing that with next year's federal stimulus, further exasperating the problem. Coupled with these other dangerous cuts, this plan is a deficit deferral not a reduction and it sets up our state for a deeper deficit next year, which is already estimated to mount $10 billion.

Steve Ognibene
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I think Steve Hawley should run for Senator or Governor.
Karen Miconi
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I agree with you Steve. Steve Hawley has always been "A Mover and a Shaker". He also stays focused, and doesn't let all the reteric distract him. He is always problem solving, and not for himself and his croanies, but for all of us. Get Em Boy!!
Chelsea O'Brien
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I think Steve Hawley is looking to get re-elected and praising him for this action is perpetuating the problem in Albany. How is this "No" vote "problem solving"? Cuts NEED to be made, regardless of who they effect. If he continues to TALK but not DO, then I will not vote for him. They need to do what we put them in office to do, regardless if they get re-elected, that is their job. Their job is not to stay in Albany for the rest of their lives. These cuts can't be made personal, and finger pointing is not the answer. What good would Hawley do as governor? A governor isn't supposed to propose legislation, or make statements like "We will cut spending". Governor's don't make anything, they enforce what our representatives think is best.
Bea McManis
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Can someone cite what legislation Steve Hawley has written?
Karen Miconi
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Chelsea, dont you see what Albany is doing?? They are ripping us off! They are making their cuts, in the wrong places, to the ones that are already hurting. How much are We willing to take, before we break?? Rosewell, and cancer research, Education, Schools, Colleges, Health Insurance(big one,and would become a sick downtroden nation without it.) local business, and a poor economy, ect. If you notice, and watch carefully there is a "pattern" with big money politicians. Protecting their assets, and money flow, and big spending, is at the top of their list.They are not suffering, but are known for being dishonest, and Bla, Bla, Bla.. What are we living on The Planet of the Apes?? with shackles around our necks?? I praise Steve for being one of the strong ones, willing to TRY to make a difference. He sees the problems, is concerned, and Isnt willing to stand by and watch NYS crumble. I ask you what is wrong with that? I hope he is trying to get reelected, and if we're smart, we'll go with the flow....
bud prevost
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Mr. Hawley recently introduced bill 9098, an effort to repeal the criminal 2% utility tax that Gov Dave figured we were too stupid to notice. I have better things to do with that extra $10 a month. It was a shady deal in the first place, and we will get more of the same until Albany stops spending the money we don't/won't have. I wish the Gov put a mandatory, across the board, no exceptions 1.5% cut in every single department of the state government. It can and should be done.
Chelsea O'Brien
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Karen, what is wrong with this state is people think they are entitled to things. Most of the education programs that would take the cuts are programs mandated by the state. Do we really need all of those programs? Cancer Research is mainly funded by the federal government and private investments. We wouldn't lose much if the state cut that funding. Through the last Bush administration there were TONS of cuts to science programs (grant-funded) at colleges and universities, yet they continued to find new things. There have been cuts to our public colleges, but private schools have also taken a hit. There are way more problems with some of our public colleges, such as recruiting out-of-state students and foreign students to raise extra money. If the program was run properly, like it is in other states (not California), the schools could prosper even in bad economic times for the state. We don't NEED public health care. Other reforms could take care of the problems in the existing system. We haven't EVER had public health care on the scale we do today. Local businesses have rarely been cared for by this state, so cutting funding shouldn't affect them at the scale some people think. The state is not in charge of the economy, that is also federal. High taxes and fees contribute to it, but are not the cause of it. All of these things are funded by big-money lobbyist! They have convinced such a large population into thinking they NEED or DESERVE these things that are being provided. And that is why nothing will get done. Steve Hawley is not SOLVING the problem, he's perpetuating it. He's listening to the lobbyists and to the people who the lobbyists have brainwashed. Cuts HAVE to be made, and if they do, they will effect everyone. It's time to look at the state as a business, not as personal programs that everyone deserves. If you lose a job, you cut spending. That's responsible personal finance. It's time the state and our representatives were responsible. (And I will continue to go against "the flow", simply because "the flow" has gotten us where we are today)
Karen Miconi
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I like your idea Bud. I definately agree. Make the cuts where they are needed. Get to the root of the big spending. The Big money politicians, and like Chelsea said, the big money lobbyists are the APES, and we are the Captives. LOL, Picture it.. P.S. Chesea the problem with the people in this state is that, they have eaten crow far to long, and while they ARE entitled to things, they Seldom get them, or a say in how Their Tax Dollars are spent and dispursed.
John Roach
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The Democrats have refused their own Governor's request for real cuts. That will just make it worse at real budget time in April.
Karen Miconi
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Good Points Howard. Im all for reduction of Big Government, and the FatCats spending taxpayers money, trying to LOOK busy, drumming up frivelious Legislation. My question is how do you change it Howard?? Its a waste of time debating over....We need ACTION!~
C. M. Barons
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Hypocrite Hawley is the political equivalent of NIMBY-ism. He blames. He toes the minority line. He does nothing. Judging from his girth, the only moving and shaking he does is at the dinner table.
Karen Miconi
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You know what Chris, why dont you run next time, since you seem to think you can do it better. What do you want me to say? Behave! While I admire, and Respect You, that label is non-productive, and downright insulting. What did he do to deserve that label? Oh wait, I dont want to know. Its just like debating about it, till we're all blue in the face. GOSH! He's One Man! "Non-productive" Hm.. The Word of the Day(@:
Chelsea O'Brien
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Karen, if you are for reducing the size of government, but not for any of the cuts you have previously mentioned, what would you cut? That's what it comes down to. Most citizens want less government, but like the programs that benefit them. You can't have both. Hawley is being unproductive, he claims he wants to help the state budget, but isn't willing to cut programs for "his people".
Chelsea O'Brien
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If that were the case, then it is not unproductive. But this nonsense about closing the budget gap, and then voting against cuts, is being unproductive.
Mark Janofsky
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About a year ago I did an internet search on Medicare/Medicaid spending. I wanted to know how much New York really spent on this program (not just the bs you hear on the radio). The best and most complete data I could find was taken form “Urban Institute and Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured estimates based on data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-64 reports, July 2007.” Unfortunately, the data is from 2006. I won’t look for newer data because we all know It’s higher than it was before and that will just pi$$ me off. I dropped the numbers into a spreadsheet to find (quickly) what NYS would not spend if spending was capped at the nation wide average. Below is a summary of the 2006 spending (1/2 fed, 1/4 state, 1/4 county): NYS total $44,712,222,361 NYS per capita $2,317 Nation wide per capita $1009 NYS total if locked at nation wide per capita $19.5B The difference between actual and the pipe dream $25.2B This equates to the following not being spent: Federal $12.6B NY State $6.3B Genesee County $19.6M
Mark Janofsky
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Mr. Hawley, Seeing I just "saved the state" please submit my usual consulting fee of 10% to the Division of Budget! ;-)
John Roach
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C.M., I thought you knew a bit about politics, but I was wrong. The way NYS has things set up, what do you think a minority member can do? Even a majority member can do nothing unless the leadership says it is ok. What, exactly, do you think Hawley should do? In detail.
bud prevost
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Howard-good question. I know what I would do. I would be the most disruptive SOB in the room, and I would tell Sheldon Silver to turn in his badge. It is going to take something outside of the norm to change Albany.
Chris Charvella
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As long as you understand that 'the norm' includes a republican representative from our district, I'll agree with you Bud. My opinion, love it or hate it, is that Hawley is a panderbot. He knows his seat is safe no matter what he does so he gets to toe the party line constantly. He could have just as easily voted FOR this legislation and said that he was doing what it takes and making the tough decisions necessary to get NY back in the black. I'm positive that that is exactly what he WOULD have done had the party tables been turned.
Bea McManis
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Posted by Howard Owens on December 2, 2009 - 12:24pm Revolution. Secession. There ya go, Karen.
bud prevost
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We need men and women who speak their own minds, based on principles and ethics, not party affiliation
Bea McManis
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Bud, Howard, and Karen I hate to sound cynical, but do you honestly believe in the utopia you hope to create by revolution against our country and secession from our union that your new leaders won't eventually fall into a party system or worse? That sort of talk makes me very uncomfortable. I wonder how many followers you have on this site, who are willing to turn their backs on this country? There is nothing stopping you from starting a new party - proudly proclaim it as your affiliation, and work hard to get YOUR people into office. Do you honestly believe that this new state/country that you hope to create won't need money to function? How do you propose that will happen? Taxes? But, before taxes, there will have to be currency. Does each local area print their own? Will you go back to bank notes? Who will maintain your roads? Who will plow your snow? Who will coordinate it? Interesting concept, but there are a myriad of questions unanswered.
bud prevost
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Bea said "I wonder how many followers you have on this site, who are willing to turn their backs on this country?" Oh contraire, ma'am. I have not, nor will I ever turn my back on the ideals that founded this nation, and your insinuation that I would is ridiculous. One who ignores or is oblivious to our nation's plight, THAT is who is turning their backs on what our nation was( and will be again)! While I am not registered, I have been doing a great deal of studying the Modern Whig Party. I would encourage everyone to google it, and see if it may become a legitimate alternative. The government was never meant to be this large, and it only makes sense to streamline and downsize. Spend only what you recieve in taxes. Don't project the future. That's why we're in the mess we're in.
John Roach
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Chris, Are you really saying you think this bill will put us in the black?
Chris Charvella
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No John, I'm saying that it's how Hawley would have packaged it had the tables been turned. I'm saying that Steve Hawley will be on whatever side of an issue his party tells him to be on. I'm saying that his assembly seat is so safe that he can afford to simply be a mouthpiece for party ideologues. I'm saying that he is just another useless sack of skin making 70K a year to take naps in the Assembly chamber. Shall I go on or have I made my feelings clear? Rest assured that my contempt for the State legislature doesn't begin and end with Mr. Hawley. Politics is a career choice for these people. They live and die by whether or not they get re-elected, as long as that mentality reigns, neither party will be able to properly govern.
Lorie Longhany
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This State Senate can't get their act together to keep the state from falling off the budget cliff but they can and did meet to vote against a marriage equality bill. So they are capable of voting on something. NY pays out more money per child than any other state in the union for education. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/27/of-all-states-new-york-scho... NY pays out more in Medicare than any state in the union. Believe me, I am all for funding education and am a fierce advocate for health care and would love to see a Medicare for all single payer system in place (eliminate the middle man completely), but when this state government is looking down a 3.2 billion deficit, with a looming shortfall that could effect our municipalities in the coming weeks, maybe the key would be to bring NYS disbursements in education and Medicare down to a level comparable to other states. But, Steve Hawley voted "no" on those cuts. This is where the BIG spending is in NY and this is where the Governor has proposed cuts. If a majority of the school districts are sitting on surpluses, doesn't it make sense to reduce there? This legislature refuses to roll up their sleeves and make the tough cuts -- and I'm talking BOTH parties, John. Secession is such a ridiculous diversion. And this is just what neighbor, Joe Roebach has proposed, along with the support of Mike Ranzenhofer and Steve Hawley. The "new" state would need a new Governor, new AD, new Comptroller, two new US Senators, newly drawn Congressional districts and the "dreaded" staff for many of those offices..... and it would need taxes to support those offices. We would be cutting out NY City and Long Island -- incidentally the area where upstate and rural NY are recipients of positive revenue -- meaning more money comes from downstate to us, not the other way around. http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20091128/NEWS01/911280341/10..., it would be years in the making. From the D&C article from last weekend -- "Even if it were to pass in the state Legislature, every county legislature in the state would have to agree to put it on their ballots and, even then, the referendum would be nonbinding. And if New Yorkers ultimately did agree to a divorce, an act of Congress would be required to admit the new state to the union. So why in the world are they wasting our time and money on this? Hmmmm....ding, ding, ding -- the answer is -- it works politically!
John Roach
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Chris, Your judgement is poor, in my opinion. I have known Hawley politically for more than 20 years and he has always been fiscally conservative. But, with the current makeup of the NYS, and with liberal Democrats running the Assembly, his views will never come to a vote. And before you waste time saying the Republicans didn't do any better, you are right. When they ran the State Senate, they had no problem spending money. There are a lot of tax and spend liberal Republicans in the Senate. But when the Republicans had two out of three branches of the government, Hawley still voted to cut taxes and spending. So Chris, like Howard asked, what, other than being a Democrat, do you base your statement on. Give concrete examples please.
doug smith
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here is a thought vote for the those who will cut taxes,reduce spending, cut, yes cut, welfare as we know it. how about stop selling smokes tax free at the reservations.....put a tax on cigs to help pay for medical treatment of those who suffer from smoking related ailments....they might already I don't know....but those who go to the Indians are not paying their fare share...... in the end our tax dollars will go towards their smoking related ailments.... sorry smokers, but true
Chris Charvella
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Fair enough, we can start with his support of a ridiculous study by universities for splitting New York into two states. This would be an example of pandering to the lunatic fringe. http://thebatavian.com/blogs/howard-owens/steve-hawley-calls-study-split...
C. M. Barons
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I am not a member of the Republican Party. Neither am I a member of the Democratic Party. Running for Assembly is not a practical goal for me for many reasons. Not being a member of a major party tops the list. If I was addressing the budget from Mr. Hawley's point of reference, I would not be taking the safe expedient course. I would be prodding my fellow minority members to resume their hew and cry for less spending. Of course I would be alone- no one embraces political suicidal. As I have said (and many here have echoed) there is fat to trim in our state budget. I believe that the gap between revenue and expenditures can be bridged by reining in spending. Where I differ from Mr. Hawley: that money should be sourced within the general fund. I hate to bore you; I have said this before. There is a learning curve to surmount. Unless we put the skids on unrestrained spending, it will all be back to haunt us next year. We don't need a bandaid; we need a brain transplant. Hawley's answer (rather his Party's answer) is to be politically expedient. A rather odd tactic for a Party that generally identifies (or personifies) fiscal responsibility. They don't want to cut the budget any more than they want to kick open a hornets' nest. But that is what must be done. The state budget has to go on a diet- not just one department, all of them. Our state has to get the equivalent of a doctor's order to lose weight. ...And Steve Hawley who represents some of the meakest wage-earners in the state ought to be at the vanguard, the loudest voice- not ducking the issue, blaming the governor and hoping someone else will fix it. Yes, he is one man. ...But he's one of 150. I'm one of 19.3 million. He has way better odds. My recent posts include a letter he sent in response to my recommendation to him. As for calling him Hypocrite-Hawley- sorry if you think it's nasty; someone has to poke this guy and make him do something besides arrange bus excursions and schmooze grants for xmas lights.
Chris Charvella
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Amen C.M. While we're talking about his record why not bring up his opposition to marriage equality. Is that another example of his 'fiscal conservatism' or is it just another party-line stance? Better yet John and Howard, let me challenge you like you challenged me. Give me reasons with examples, of course, that prove he's not a party-line pander-bear. Your reasons have to have better evidence than. 'I think he's sincere,' and 'I really like him,' and 'He kissed my baby at the County Fair.'
bud prevost
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Chris, you obviously already knew that Mr. Hawley is the same as all legislators in NYS. Job security first, everything else second. He is voting party line just like the donkeys do. I am not criticizing 1 party, I THINK THEY ARE BOTH MISGUIDED and ARROGANT.
John Roach
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Chris, He has said, and Howard has posted right here, some of his ideas to cut the budget. All you had to do is read it. But you also have to admit that Mr. Silver, will never allow any of Hawley's ideas to even be discussed. Mr. Silver will not allow any reform and you know it. As far as his being against "marriage equality", I think he represents the vast majority of his district, but I could be wrong. Democrats seem to know that also, since they are the ones who killed the bill. While marriage equality is not a County issue, you never mentioned your support of it in your election bid. That would have add a bit of spice to the election and would have been a great chance to judge local support for or against it.
Chris Charvella
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No reason to bring it up during the election John. Had I been asked I certainly would have discussed my support for it. The 8 democrats in the state senate who voted 'no' are probably politicians who fear for their jobs. if that is the case and they feel differently than they voted then I find them despicable.
Chris Charvella
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Howard, I hate politicians of any stripe who only do what they think they need to get re-elected. I just pick on Mr. Hawley because he's our representative. I think Sheldon Silver is a partisan tool as well, but he's not my problem. You see, there's no room for idealism and ideology when there are real problems to tackle. Our representatives need to get creative and put all of their pre-conceived notions of how things are done aside. When that happens and real discussions about the state of the State begin, I'll be just as quick to hand out my praise as I have been my scorn. I wasn't dodging your real question either Howard, it's just that I don't speak in any official capacity for local Dems with regard to our feelings about elected officials from our party. If you want a statement like that you know which tree you need to bark up.
C. M. Barons
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Howard, your dipole, contrasting Republicans lacks something: relevancy. Steve Hawley is a personable guy. He's a good insurance agent. He inherited his name and political position from his father who held the same seat for eons in advance of his son. Both share a cozy, good-ol-boy aura, posing as moderate, friends of the farmer. That pose and attendant, hayseed moonglow weren't wasted thirty years ago. Back then you could campaign at the county fair and shake hands with most of your votes in the exhibition hall. I know all of that country charm sticks to Howard like a good barbecue sauce. That Father Knows Best, Eisenhower era oldtime Americana intoxicates like a third swallow of cider from the basement barrel. ...But reality still lurks under the sepia stain. You can't squawk about downstate shenanigans and praise your Assemblyman who kisses babies while the barn burns down.
Lorie Longhany
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Howard, there is a strong voice for reform and most of the local Democrats, that I know, believe in a reform agenda in the state government. Many reform advocates can be seen right here and on blogs like The Albany Project (created specifically to advocate for reform), Rochester Turning, Buffalo Pundit and others. There's also a newly formed organization called ReBootNY, which is a group of reform minded people from across New York that have come together to find and run BETTER candidates for the State Senate. That includes primary challenges. This group is responsible for the "Fire Monserrate" petition banner that is displayed on progressive sites across NY. Monserrate is a Democrat. There are many local Democrats that have signed that petition, including myself. I took a much stronger stand as county chair just yesterday on the matter of Monserrate. As Democrats you need only read the famous quote by Will Rogers -- "I don't belong to any organized Party, I'm a Democrat" We don't walk in lockstep, which can and does result in many differing opinions. With that in mind I am very vocal with the Democrats at the state level about a myriad of issues including the budget. We also have spoken up on several other issues that could effect us locally -- example; GLOW Dem's advocated for the mom and pop, locally owned liqueur stores against a proposal to sell wine in the grocery stores. I write letters, make phone calls, sign petitions. Remember, Howard, with Republican Assembly, State Senate and Congressional districts we are the only opposition voice in this area. Balance, oversight and transparency.
John Roach
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C.M., Again and again, you fail to say what Hawley can do right now. If he stood in the middle of the street and shouted "cuts", Mr. Silver would not listen. And with the way the Assembly is set up, even conservative Democrats have no say, and you know it. By the way, the elder Hawley was a farmer and at the time he was in office, he was the only one. He was also much more liberal in his votes than his son . You should also remember that the last time a State vote to write a new constitution came up, the majority of people voted it down. Let's hope next time they vote yes.
Chris Charvella
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No, we don't really depart there. The problem is that we have to believe that politicians aren't lying during a campaign :) If a person campaigns from a certain platform then changes their tune when the water starts to boil then they deserve to have rotten tomatoes thrown at them in the public square. When new issues arise, we have to trust our elected officials to make the right decision based on their personal beliefs. EDIT: Sorry, after 'personal beliefs' I should have added: 'moderated by a healthy dose of logic and reality.'
C. M. Barons
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John, I have made specific recommendations- right down to the percentage point on budget modification. I have shared those suggestions with this blog and the governor. I've emailed Steve Hawley. What Hawley can or cannot do is up to him. Is it a crime to criticize the guy? Are you emotionally involved?
Kimberly Ziccardi
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Secession?? That was in an earlier post. Maybe said tongue-in-cheek?
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