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Friday, April 4, 2014 at 11:40 am

Ranzenhofer announces state funds for road and street repair

post by Howard Owens in infrastructure, Mike Ranzenhofer

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer announced today that the 2014-15 State Budget will provide an additional $40 million to help municipalities repair potholes and road surface damage caused by the harsh winter weather.

“While spring has finally arrived, the aftermath of a brutal winter still remains. There are still a significant number of potholes and surface damage all over the roadways. At the same time, the harsh winter has depleted municipalities’ budgets to repair roads,” Ranzenhofer said. “These investments will benefit towns and villages throughout Genesee County so that new infrastructure repair projects can be undertaken.”

The 2014-15 State Budget includes $40 million in Extreme Winter Weather Assistance Capital and $438 million for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS). The new budget maintains a record level of funding for the CHIPS program for a second consecutive year. The 2012-13 State Budget first increased CHIPS funding by $75 million.

Breakdown: CHIPS/Extreme Winter Weather Assistance by Municipality

Municipality

2013-14 State Budget ($)

2014-15 State Budget ($)

Year-over-year Change ($)

Percent Change

Genesee County

1,674,922

1,823,766

148,844

8.89

City of Batavia

308,736

337,343

28,607

9.27

Town of Alabama

85,971

95,945

9,974

11.60

Town of Alexander

89,208

99,405

10,197

11.43

Town of Batavia

103,681

115,241

11,560

11.15

Town of Bergen

49,382

55,025

5,643

11.43

Town of Bethany

78,161

86,815

8,655

11.07

Town of Byron

96,201

107,622

11,421

11.87

Town of Darien

105,413

117,649

12,236

11.61

Town of Elba

76,621

85,738

9,117

11.90

Town of LeRoy

100,215

111,698

11,483

11.46

Town of Oakfield

50,614

56,278

5,664

11.19

Town of Pavilion

103,501

115,242

11,741

11.34

Town of Pembroke

95,732

106,478

10,746

11.22

Town of Stafford

95,234

106,160

10,926

11.47

Village of Alexander

8,879

9,861

982

11.05

Village of Bergen

19,679

21,685

2,006

10.20

Village of Corfu

13,354

14,920

1,566

11.72

Village of Elba

8,932

9,842

910

10.19

Village of Le Roy

74,672

83,020

8,348

11.18

Village of Oakfield

28,029

31,203

3,174

11.32

In addition to these initiatives, the State Budget provides ways to keep roads and drivers safe. More funding has been allocated toward curtailing dangerous texting-while-driving. Young and new drivers convicted of texting-while-driving will have their licenses suspended for 120 days for a first-time offense and one year for a second-time offense.

The New York State Legislature started the CHIPS program in 1981. The CHIPS program provides funding for the repair of highways, bridges and roads operated by local governments.

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Ranzenhofer secures $10 million funding for GCC capital projects

post by Howard Owens in GCC, Mike Ranzenhofer

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer announced today that he has secured more than $10 million in matching grants for strategic initiative projects at Genesee Community College as part of the 2014-15 New York State Budget.

Senator Ranzenhofer requested that the funding be added to the Executive Budget proposal.

“I am pleased to announce that I have been able to secure over $10 million in funding for critically needed capital projects at Genesee Community College,” Ranzenhofer said. “Many of these projects will enhance student experience and success. The Student Success Center will upgrade the college’s instructional space with new labs, tutoring areas, and more classrooms for new academic programs, such as health, technology and agribusiness.”

The State Budget provides $6,924,150 for the Genesee Community College Event Center; $2,593,350 for the Genesee Community College Success Center; and $575,303 for conversion and retrofitting of space for new academic program instructional needs.

Genesee Community College President James Sunser started working with Senator Ranzenhofer in early February to secure funding for these projects.

Sunser said:

“The projects funded in the New York State budget for Genesee Community College are among the most important initiatives in the College’s history. The two new Batavia Campus buildings will continue Genesee’s 47-year record of innovation, and transform our College and our region. The new College and Community Event Center will enrich campus life, and will eventually bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to business, professional and community events held there. The Student Success Center will be one of the most unique “one-stop” student service centers in the nation. It will bring together in one place all the services students and community residents need for their academic and career success.

“Together, these two new buildings will free up space in the existing Batavia Campus buildings for new academic programs that will help shape our future, such as agribusiness and emerging high-tech fields. These new programs mean new opportunities for students and new jobs for the region. From the outset, Senator Ranzenhofer understood how these projects would make a powerful difference in the lives of our students and the economic vitality of our communities. We appreciate Senator Ranzenhofer’s commitment to Genesee Community College, his commitment to the long-term growth of jobs and businesses that these projects represent, and his willingness to advocate for inclusion of these projects in a very tight state budget. Senator Ranzenhofer’s efforts will touch future generations.”

The funding is part of $81 million in matching grants in the State Budget for strategic initiative projects on community college campuses across New York.

Monday, March 31, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Ranzenhofer announces increase in VTL funds for local governments

post by Howard Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that the 2014-15 New York State Budget will increase Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) aid by more than 27 percent to the host communities of Batavia Downs.

Throughout the budget process, Senator Ranzenhofer and his colleagues in the State Senate have been working to secure additional VLT aid.

“I am pleased to announce that I was able to secure more VLT aid – for the Town of Batavia, the City of Batavia, and Genesee County – to help offset expenses for hosting Batavia Downs. This is a huge win for our community. Local governments and taxpayers will now receive a $171,700 funding boost,” Ranzenhofer said.

The 2014 Executive Budget proposed VLT aid remain at the prior year’s funding level. The 2014-15 State Budget will increase VLT aid among the three host communities of Batavia Downs by approximately $171,765.

Breakdown: VLT Aid to Batavia Downs Casino Host Communities

 

2014-15 Executive Budget Proposal

2014-15 Enacted Budget

Change from Executive Budget Proposal

City of Batavia

$346,334

$440,789

$94,455

Town of Batavia

$126,019

$160,388

$34,369

Genesee County

$157,451

$200,392

$42,941

In 2006, State Finance Law authorized payment of aid to municipalities with video lottery terminal facilities. Funding for host communities was eliminated by Senate and Assembly Democrats in 2009 and 2010. Currently, host communities receive 55 percent of the aid received in 2008-09; the 2014-15 State Budget will restore aid to 70 percent of 2008-09 levels.

Senator Ranzenhofer is a cosponsor of legislation, S2120A, to resore VLT aid to 2008 levels.

Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:14 am

Ranzenhofer announces Earth Day Poster Contest

post by Howard Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer

Press release:

Senator Mike Ranzenhofer today encouraged local student entries for the New York State Senate’s Earth Day Poster Contest, a statewide competition that raises student awareness of recycling and waste reduction.

“The New York State Senate takes this opportunity to celebrate the great strides New York has made in helping to improve our environment. By educating students about the importance of recycling, they can be a part of the many New Yorkers who are already helping to make a difference,” Ranzenhofer said.

The Earth Day Competition is for schoolchildren in grades K-6. Students are encouraged not only to be creative, but also to convey a real commitment to making the environment a better place. Entries should be photographed and submitted electronically, preferably in jpeg or pdf format, via Senator Ranzenhofer’s Web site, ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov. All submissions must be uploaded by April 11, 2014.

“The Earth Day competition encourages the exchange of ideas among schools, children and adults and inspires creative thinking about solutions to the environmental challenges we face in the 21st Century. Teaching children about the importance of recycling and waste reduction is critical, and I encourage children to submit their own poster,” Ranzenhofer said.

The theme of this year’s competition is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” The winning posters will be displayed at Senator Ranzenhofer’s Web site. All participants will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. Since then, more than 20 million Americans have participated in the annual day, helping to improve the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. In addition, landmark legislation has been passed to help support this effort, such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Hawley's response to Cuomo's State of the State: More tax cuts, please

post by Howard Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is responding to the governor’s 2014 State of the State address by challenging him to deliver the tax relief he has promised. Hawley wants to see the governor actually deliver on his rhetoric to bring significant tax relief to upstate New York families.

“It is normal for politicians to talk about tax relief in an election year, but usually, the so-called relief that is delivered is not enough to give our middle-class families the help they need,” Hawley said. “If the governor is the leader he claims to be, he will pass a tax-relief package that takes money from Albany’s special interests and puts it in the pockets of Upstate New York’s families. Also, the governor needs to deliver on an unfulfilled promise to pass mandate relief for our counties and municipalities, which would help lower property taxes.”

In addition to calling for tax relief, Hawley renewed his pledge to fight for the Second Amendment rights of Upstate New Yorkers. He hopes the courts will find the NY SAFE Act unconstitutional and has also introduced legislation to repeal the SAFE Act in order to hold those who passed it accountable for their actions.

“We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the passage of the SAFE Act. This should renew all Second Amendment advocates’ deep resolve to get this unconstitutional law repealed. I have been working for the past year with Second Amendment advocates to organize our opposition to the law, and I will continue that fight in the coming year,” Hawley said.

Hawley is also pushing for a vote on his “Two New Yorks” bill. This legislation would allow counties to place an initiative on the ballot on whether the citizens want New York to be split into two states due to the divergent interests of Upstate and Downstate New York.

“Since the SAFE Act was rammed down the throats of the people of Upstate New York under the cover of darkness, the frustration with Downstate special interests has grown exponentially. When combined with the highest in the nation taxes and unending regulations imposed by Downstate bureaucrats, Upstate New Yorkers deserve to have their voices heard on whether or not they want to continue to be linked with Downstate New York,” Hawley said.

Here's Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer's response:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has issued the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address:

“Today’s State of the State message made it clear that tax relief will be at the top of the to-do list. Enacting a property tax cap and reducing income tax rates has started the process of chipping away at New York’s high tax burden. Yet, New York State still finishes near last place when ranked by tax climate.

“That is why I am pleased that the Governor followed the lead of the report released by my colleagues in the State Senate to reduce, simplify and eliminate taxes across the board. Eliminating the tax rate for manufacturers in Upstate New York will enhance firms’ ability to invest, expand and create jobs. Accelerating the phase-out of the 18-A surcharge will put more money back in households’ wallets, while helping to keep energy costs down for businesses. I have been an advocate of these tax-relief initiatives for several years now.

“One of my major legislative priorities will be cutting taxes for all New Yorkers – small businesses, manufacturers, families, retirees, young professionals, property owners and seniors – at every level. Overall, tax relief with the farthest reach, and to as many New Yorkers as possible, will help to ensure a brighter, stronger and more prosperous economy for Western New York.”

Friday, October 25, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Ranzenhofer launches petition drive against benefit cards being used to buy booze, lottery tickets

post by Howard Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has started a new campaign to protect taxpayer dollars by launching a petition drive to encourage the State Assembly to pass a bill that would prohibit Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards from being used by welfare recipients to purchase alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets and other non-essential items.

“While New Yorkers have always been willing to lend a helping hand to those in need, we don’t like seeing taxpayer money being wasted,” Ranzenhofer said. “There is no law to prevent public assistance from being used to purchase beer, cigarettes or lottery tickets.  It’s time to close this loophole in State law.”

The Public Assistance Integrity Act (S.966) would prohibit using EBT cards for tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, and ATM cash withdrawals at liquor stores and casinos. Senator Ranzenhofer is a cosponsor of the legislation. The bill passed the State Senate on June 18th. The State Assembly has not taken action on the bill.

“I was proud to vote for this measure in the Senate, but our job is not yet done. That’s why I am launching a new petition drive to encourage the State Assembly to take action on this bill,” Ranzenhofer said. “I encourage residents to join my campaign to protect your dollars by signing my petition.”

Residents can sign the petition by visiting ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.

EBT cards work like a debit card for welfare recipients, containing both a Food Stamp and Cash Assistance component. Strict regulations guide what can be purchased for Food Stamps. Cash assistance is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries. Currently, there are no restrictions on the use of Cash Assistance.

Federal aid received by New York may be at risk if the State Assembly does not pass the bill. The federal government has mandated states implement a fraud prevention system by Feb. 2014. If New York State does not act accordingly, the Federal government will penalize the State by cutting federal funding for Cash Assistance by 5 percent or $120 million.

Photo provided by The Batavian's news partner, WBTA.

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 10:38 am

Ranzenhofer urges WNYers to rise up against proposed federal tax change

post by Howard Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer, taxes

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer today urged New Yorkers to sign his new online petition, rejecting Federal budget proposals that would increase taxes on Western New Yorkers by an average of $2,800. Residents can sign the petition by visiting Senator Ranzenhofer’s Web site, ranzenhofer.nysenate.gov.
 
“If enacted, this federal budget proposal would negatively impact the budgets of thousands of Western New Yorkers. I am urging Western New Yorkers to say NO to a new $2,800 tax increase,” Ranzenhofer said. “It is important for residents to be heard on this issue. By working together, we can send a strong message to Washington that Western New Yorkers are not an ATM machine.”
 
New Federal budget proposals would end a longstanding policy of allowing taxpayers to deduct state and local tax liability, including property taxes, on Federal tax returns. Eliminating the deduction would effectively double tax residents, since residents would be subject to Federal tax on income used to pay state and local taxes.
 
The impact of the proposal in Western New York is estimated to increase tax bills by an average of $2,800 for more than 139,101 residents. Federal tax bills for affected taxpayers would increase by an average of 30 percent.
 
Additional information is available in a report by Governor Cuomo, entitled "Impact on New Yorkers of Federal Tax Proposals," at http://www.governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/Impact-of-Federal-Tax-Proposals.pdf.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Ranzenhofer adds name to anti-SAFE Act bill

post by Howard Owens in 2nd Amendment, Mike Ranzenhofer

Press release:

Batavia, N.Y. – State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced that he has added his name as a cosponsor to legislation (S3948) repealing the NYSAFE Act.

“When a bill is rushed to passage without proper review by the public and then passed in the middle of the night, the end result has a negative impact on residents. Since passage of the NYSAFE Act, I have heard from many concerned citizens, mental health professionals, county clerks and local government officials with very serious concerns about this new law.  In the past week alone, there have been numerous news reports that illustrate the law is not working for Western  New Yorkers. That is why I have signed on to legislation that would repeal the NYSAFE Act,” said Ranzenhofer.

Senator Ranzenhofer has written to New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico, requesting a meeting to discuss recent reports that the State Police may have been instructed to investigate personal medical records for mental health cases and prescriptions for mental health issues.

The letter states: “Any unwarranted search of personal medical information could not only violate federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules, but raises serious ethical and constitutional concerns. Furthermore, simply owning a firearm should not be grounds for reviewing a citizen’s medical history.” 

Senator Ranzenhofer plans to introduce new legislation in the State Senate to prevent law enforcement officials from accessing medical records without a warrant or in violation of federal HIPAA privacy rules.

"The SAFE Act Law has dominated our office activity, staff time, and resources since the middle of January.  From the Opt-Out forms to registration of "assault" rifles and shotguns, from Mental Health Notifications to recertification procedures, we find we are besieged on all sides. Previous "unfunded mandates" for our office pale in comparison to what it will cost the county, and its taxpayers, to operate under the new gun laws this year," said Genesee County Clerk Don Read.  

“Never in my experience have I seen such a terrible law as the NYSAFE Act. A law that local and county governments, and law enforcement professionals from all across New York State have expressed opposition. On behalf of the members of SCOPE and the citizens of New York, I join Senator Ranzenhofer in calling for the repeal of this overreaching law, and for an investigation into the allegations of State Police unwarranted intrusions into New Yorkers private medical records,” said New York State SCOPE President Stephen Aldstadt.

"As the Chairperson of the Genesee County SCOPE Chapter, I represent a very concerned and frustrated group of law-abiding citizens. We are fortunate to have Senator Ranzenhofer representing us in Albany and supporting our endeavors to repeal the NYSAFE Act. We will continue to be diligent until the law is repealed," said Genesee County SCOPE Chapter Chairman Bill Fox.

Senator Ranzenhofer voted against the NYSAFE Act. 

The 61st Senate District encompasses: the Towns of Amherst, Clarence, and Newstead and the Villages of Akron and Williamsville in Erie County; all of Genesee County; and the Towns of Chili and Riga, the Village of Churchville and part of the City of Rochester in Monroe County.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 11:59 am

Statement from Ranzenhofer on passage of state budget

post by Howard Owens in Mike Ranzenhofer

Press release:

The New York State Senate has completed passage of the 2013-14 State Budget. State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R, C, I – Amherst) has issued the following statement:

“The State Senate has finished passage of an early State Budget for the third year in a row – a first in over 30 years. The 2013-14 State Budget is a balanced, fiscally responsible plan that closes a billion dollar budget gap without tax increases.

For middle-class families, the budget provides over $1 billion in tax relief over three years to make up for the value of child tax credits eroded by inflation and ensures the continuation of the lowest personal income tax rates in 60 years.

For senior citizens, the budget fully funds the EPIC prescription drug program, providing 270,000 seniors with help in affording their prescription drugs, and delivers $912 million in property tax relief to senior homeowners as part of the Enhanced STAR program.

For every person with a utility bill – both residents and businesses – the budget will phase out the energy tax surcharge over three years, rejecting the Executive Budget proposal to extend the tax for five more years.   

Under the fiscal plan, businesses will be in a better position than last year to grow our economy and create jobs. In addition to relief from the phase out of the energy tax surcharge, the budget saves businesses almost $1 billion by reforming workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance programs. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses and manufacturers will get a reduction in taxes, too.

While I am disappointed that tax relief – for small businesses, homeowners, seniors, and middle-class families – couldn’t be greater, the budget continues to move our State in the right direction by easing the tax burden for all Western New Yorkers.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 9:25 am

Ranzenhofer announces across the board funding increase for local road projects

post by Howard Owens in infrastructure, Mike Ranzenhofer

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced that the 2013-14 State Budget will increase funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), providing more than $275,000 in additional funding for infrastructure projects in Genesee County.

“For the first time in five years, more funding for local road and bridge repair projects will go directly to towns, cities and villages in Genesee County. Maintaining and improving our infrastructure is so important to our economy, while keeping drivers and their passengers safe,” Senator Ranzenhofer said.

In total, Genesee County will receive $1,674,921.93 in CHIPS funding, an increase of more than $275,581. The following is a breakdown of CHIPS funding by city, town and village:

Earlier this month, Senator Ranzenhofer joined his colleagues in a letter to the Governor and Legislative leaders, requesting an increase of at least $100 million for CHIPS funding. CHIPS funding is included in the Article VII Budget Bill for Transportation, Economic Development, and Environment. The State Senate passed the Article VII for the 2013-14 State Budget on Sunday.

The State Legislature started the CHIPS program in 1981. The CHIPS program provides funding for the repair of highways, bridges and roads operated by local governments.

The 61st Senate District encompasses: the towns of Amherst, Clarence, and Newstead and the villages of Akron and Williamsville in Erie County; all of Genesee County; and the towns of Chili and Riga, the Village of Churchville and part of the City of Rochester in Monroe County.

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