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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 10:08 am

Hawley declares April 15 Big Government Day

post by Howard Owens in Big Government Day, steve hawley

Press Release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) declared today, April 15, as "Big Government Day" in New York State. While April 15 is well known as the deadline to file your taxes, it carries even more significance this year as it is also the deadline for gun owners to register their so-called "assault weapons" with the state or become felons. Hawley is using the day as a reminder to his constituents of the need to stand strong in the face of ever-growing state and federal governments.

“The government was not content simply taking your money, so they’ve decided to take your guns, too,” said Hawley. “It is appropriate that we commemorate this day as Big Government Day and take a moment to understand the massive scope of the government’s size. New York State is both the highest taxed and least free state in the entire country thanks to the forces of New York City liberals. On this day where the government is coming after both our money and our 2nd Amendment rights, let’s make sure that those of us who love our families and communities make a stand for smaller government.”

While New Yorkers are unfortunately accustomed to paying oppressive taxes on Big Government Day, this is the first year that the registration requirement of the SAFE Act is also in effect. Numerous reports in the media have indicated that the rate of compliance with the SAFE Act is expected to be less than 10 percent, with local officials refusing to enforce the law. Hawley sees the flawed gun control legislation as not only unconstitutional, but also as a case study of the ineffectiveness of big government.

Big Government Day is a sober reminder that New Yorkers live in the least free state in the country. According to a 2013 report by the Mercatus Center, New York “is by far the least free state in the Union.” The reality that Upstate New Yorkers know too well is that their neighbors are leaving the state. Big government forces families to flee New York for areas where they are not overburdened by highest-in-the-nation taxes and unconstitutional infringements on personal freedoms.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Hawley continues push to repeal SAFE Act

post by Howard Owens in 2nd Amendment, SAFE Act, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) continued his fight to restore the Second Amendment rights of his constituents in Albany by pushing for a repeal of the SAFE Act. Hawley helped force a vote on legislation he cosponsors (A.6238) in the Assembly Codes Committee, which unfortunately was unsuccessful. While vowing to continue fighting to repeal the SAFE Act, Hawley noted that his bill was defeated by Downstate, New York City interests.

“I am working hard with my colleagues who cherish the Second Amendment to see the rights enshrined by it restored. We got a vote on legislation that would repeal the SAFE Act, but it was unfortunately voted down by Downstate Assembly liberals,” Hawley said. “They voted to put honest, law-abiding people in jail for exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protect their families. Their actions have only strengthened my resolve to stand up for the good people of Western New York who should be enjoying their full Second Amendment rights.”

As long as the Assembly is controlled by Downstate liberals, Hawley recognizes that repeal through legislative means is likely dead on arrival. However, he is hopeful that a lawsuit working its way through the court system will find the SAFE Act unconstitutional when it arrives at the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Hawley vows to continue doing his part to restore the Second Amendment through outspoken advocacy and organizing fellow Second-Amendment enthusiasts.

Friday, March 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Hawley shares ideas on lowering winter energy costs

post by Howard Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is responding to the extreme spike in electric rates, saying this is further evidence of the need to invest in new, cheaper forms of energy, like natural gas and nuclear energy. The steep rise in electric rates was caused by the increased demand for energy to heat homes during this particularly cold winter. Higher demand without a corresponding rise in supply causes an increase in prices. While energy costs will always rise in the winter, if there had been more energy options to increase the supply, the steep rise in home heating costs may not have been as noticeable.

“Every winter, Western New Yorkers are reminded of the narrow-minded approach our state has to producing energy to heat homes. High energy costs in winter are caused by a lack of options to heat your home,” Hawley said. “Natural gas and nuclear energy provide options that need to be explored so that middle-class families aren’t burdened with extreme home heating costs. We need to put middle-class families first by providing cheaper home heating options.”

Electricity rates are determined by two things; the market for electricity and the cost of delivery. While delivery costs have generally remained constant, the market for electricity can change drastically with supply and demand. Due to the record-breaking winter Upstate New York has experienced, demand for electricity has skyrocketed, and without a corresponding increase in supply, costs go up as well.

Electric consumers who want to do something about their rates can switch to fixed rates offered by some providers. This removes the risk of being hit by rate spikes in winter, but also locks you into the same rate even if prices drop due to low energy consumption. Individual consumers will need to do a cost-benefit analysis to see what works the best for them. Other steps consumers can take include saving energy by unplugging appliances and using compact fluorescent lightbulbs, both of which will reduce energy consumption and lower your bill.

For more information, National Grid has made an online webinar available to anyone who has questions about their rates and how they are calculated. This webinar can be found at https://portal.entermyform.com/packages/index.php?id=VFZSRk5VOVI

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 7:19 am

Hawley supports legislation aiding small businesses owned by disabled veterans

post by Howard Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today voted in favor of legislation to give 6 percent of state contracts to disabled veteran-owned small businesses. As the ranking minority member on the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, Hawley is pleased to help pass this important bill, which honors his commitment to the well being of veterans who have made sacrifices for our country.

“This is just one small way to demonstrate our appreciation for veterans who were disabled in the line of duty. Disabled veterans understand the value of hard work and sacrifice, and will bring this positive attitude to the work they’ll do for the state,” Hawley said. “I have been working to push this legislation through the Assembly for several years. Now, disabled veterans will have opportunities to transition back into the workforce and make a life for themselves after their service is completed.”

The legislation will set aside 6 percent of state contracts for companies owned by veterans who were disabled in combat. This will help solve one of the biggest problems that disabled veterans face when they return home – the transition back into the civilian workforce. Due to their combat injuries, many disabled veterans are unable to take jobs that require physical labor, and often do not have the qualifications necessary for office jobs. This measure will give disabled veterans a chance to enhance their income for their families.

Friday, March 14, 2014 at 9:03 am

Hawley knocks state budget proposal

post by Howard Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

“The Assembly’s budget proposal was crafted by the Downstate interests that have wreaked havoc on Upstate New York’s economy for years. The governor’s tax relief proposals, which themselves were not significant, are scaled back even further in the Assembly’s budget.

There is no mandate relief whatsoever, without which property taxes will continue to drive families out of Upstate. In addition, there is no plan to pay back the education cuts from 2011 (Gap Elimination Adjustment), and our local libraries are not properly funded, creating the risk that our children will not have the resources they need to grow and learn.

This is also a bad budget proposal for those who support the Second Amendment of our Constitution, as $3.2 million is devoted to implementing the SAFE Act, and a proposal to legalize crossbows for hunting purposes that the governor included in his budget was omitted here.

“It is also deeply troubling that the Assembly leadership has included controversial issues like college tuition for illegal immigrants, taxpayer funded political campaigns and medical marijuana. Fortunately, this proposal is not the final product. We will have a chance over the next couple of weeks to fight for measures that provide tax relief for middle-class families and bring decent jobs to Upstate New York’s economy.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Hawley joins call for $50 million in local bridge and road repair funds

post by Howard Owens in infrastructure, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) joined county and town highway superintendents to call for an additional $50 million in state funding to improve local roads and bridges. This funding is necessary to improve New York’s deteriorating local infrastructure, and will also create jobs related to infrastructure improvements. These roads cost each New Yorker an average of $1,600 in damage to vehicles because of roads in disrepair.

“After a particularly harsh winter, the importance of having well-maintained roads has become clear. We need to make sure that our roads and bridges are safe for the people who rely on them to go about their day-to-day lives. I stand with highway superintendents across the state in saying that our local roads do matter, and proper funding is critical to keeping them safe,” Hawley said.

Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Hawley and Collins knock Cuomo's proposal to fund college for criminals

post by Howard Owens in Andrew Cuomo, chris collins, NY-27, steve hawley

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced his opposition to Gov. Cuomo’s plan to give free college degrees to people in prison. The governor’s plan reflects the misplaced priorities of Downstaters who continue to ignore the needs of hard-working Western New York families. Instead of rewarding criminals, Hawley says the state should help the families who are taking on overwhelming debt to put their kids through college.

“The governor’s plan to give free college to convicts is one of the worst ideas I’ve heard during my tenure as an assemblyman. It’s insulting to middle-class Western New Yorkers who are taking on debts over $50,000 to go to college,” Hawley said. “This plan punishes law-abiding citizens while rewarding criminals. Not only is this idea wrong in principle, but it may cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. We should never ask taxpayers to pay for the college education of convicts while they are taking on debt to pay for their own.”

Press release Congressman Chris Collins:

“The Governor’s latest plan to fund college educations for convicted criminals with New Yorkers’ tax dollars is an insult to law-abiding citizens all across our state who are struggling to pay for higher education or find employment in this stagnant economy. This plan is just the latest sign that for a state that is the highest taxed and ranks among the worst in job creation, Albany has its priorities all screwed up.”

The Wall Street Journal: New Gov. Cuomo Initiative Will Fund College Classes in Prisons

UPDATE -- from Chris Collins:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of federal taxpayer dollars to provide a college education to convicted criminals. The pending legislation is in response to Governor Cuomo’s announced plan to use taxpayer dollars to fund college degree programs for convicted criminals in New York State prisons.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons provides states with funding for educational and other programs at state prisons and correctional facilities. Collins’ legislation would ban states from using the federal taxpayer dollars to fund college degree programs for convicted criminals.

“We hear over and over again from politicians concerned about the growing cost of higher education and the amount of student debt our young people are sacked with after earning their degree," Collins said. "Strangely, many of these same politicians think tax dollars should be spent to give convicted criminals a free college degree.”

According to The Project on Student Debt, 60 percent of college graduates in New York State carry student debt. The average amount of student debt for New Yorkers is $25,537.  

Congressman Collins will formally introduce the legislation in the coming days. As the House moves forward with the Appropriations process later this year, Collins will also introduce a limiting rider to ensure no appropriated funds in a particular bill are used to fund college courses for convicted criminals. Collins’ bill would not ban states from using federal dollars to support GED or work training programs in prisons and correctional facilities.

Monday, February 3, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Hawley: Jump in milk production underscores importance of ag to Upstate economy

post by Howard Owens in agriculture, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is using the improved ranking of New York’s milk production in the nation to demonstrate the value of Upstate’s agricultural economy. New York recently passed Idaho to become the third largest producer of milk in the nation. New York’s milk production increased by 2.2 percent in 2013, compared to 0.4-percent growth nationwide, which demonstrates the importance of milk production to the Upstate economy.

“The Upstate agricultural economy is vital to New York’s success, and news of our increased milk production is a good indicator of this fact. Not only is New York’s milk going directly to consumers, it is also going to produce other growing New York products, such as yogurt and cheese,” Hawley said. “We must make sure to enact policies that encourage the growth of our state’s agricultural economy. I will be keeping a careful eye on how the budget proposal affects our family farms, and advocating for policies that help them grow.”

New York’s dairy industry comprises the largest portion of its agriculture economy, and is the number one producer of yogurt in the country, churning out a total of 695 million pounds. Hawley has supported New York’s farming economy by passing the 2 percent family farm tax cap, calling for reduced agricultural regulations, and promoting initiatives to market New York farm products.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Deadline for volunteer firefighters seeking tuition assistance is Feb. 3

post by Howard Owens in announcements, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is reminding his constituents that the deadline for volunteer firefighters to apply for college tuition aid through the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York’s Higher Education Learning Plan (FASNY HELP) is February 3. This program has been developed to encourage volunteerism and help college students pay for the ever-increasing cost of a college education. Hawley does not want any young firefighters in his district miss out on tuition aid because they were not aware of the FASNY HELP program.

“The fine people at FASNY have a great program to help volunteer firefighters with their college tuition. If you are a volunteer firefighter trying to put yourself through college, please do not hesitate to take advantage of the program,” said Hawley. “The time and sacrifice our volunteer firefighters give to their communities is commendable, and the FASNY HELP program is the least we can do to show our gratitude for their service.”

The FASNY HELP program allows community college students to receive up to 100 percent tuition reimbursement for up to 80 credit hours while serving as volunteer firefighters and maintaining their grades. To be eligible for the FASNY HELP program, you must first complete your local fire department’s volunteer membership process and the Volunteer Fire Department Commitment form.

For information on the program and how to apply, visit http://www.fasny.com/index.php/resources/fasny-help/, email HELP@fasny.com,
Attn: John D’Alessandro, Deputy Volunteer Programs Coordinator or call FASNY toll free at (855) 367-6933.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Hawley says the math of Cuomo's budget doesn't add up

post by Howard Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is skeptical of the governor’s executive budget which was laid out today in Albany. Hawley notes that this proposal is a starting point in negotiations over the budget and will be changed before a final product is passed in late March. In that time, Hawley will be working to improve the budget by supporting the good elements and seeking to have the bad parts removed. Overall, Hawley’s impression of the budget is that the numbers do not add up since increases in education spending and tax relief measures are both larger than the surplus the governor is touting.

“The governor certainly rolled out some bold ideas for tax relief and increased education spending. However, I do not see how the math adds up. This budget proposal includes $2.2 billion in overall tax relief and $3.8 billion in increased education spending, when we supposedly only have a $2 billion surplus projected for 2017,” Hawley said. “I will investigate this further, but it seems to me that this proposal would put our state into debt. If this does not put our state in debt, then the money must be coming from somewhere, possibly from other important programs and services.

“A more realistic tax relief plan would involve eliminating some of the unnecessary mandates handed down to municipalities by Albany. For example, the state forces counties to spend more on Medicaid than any other state in the country. This is why our property taxes are so high. Curbing spending on this and other mandates would have a much greater impact on property taxes on New York.”

Hawley is also blasting the governor’s proposal for taxpayer-bankrolled political campaigns. This proposal would give taxpayer dollars to politicians to use on commercials, mail pieces, robo-calls, and other annoying campaign materials that hard-working families are bombarded with during campaign season. Hawley strongly opposes this idea and will fight to have it removed from the budget.

“Taxpayer-bankrolled campaigns are essentially welfare for politicians. Taxpayer money should be given back to the overtaxed families of Western New York before it is spent on endless political commercials and mailers,” Hawley said. “I am going to fight against this proposal and redirect this money back to the taxpayers who actually need this money.”

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