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Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm

Surplus should be used for Upstate economic stimulus, Hawley says

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) said today that Upstate economic development would be the best option for the state’s $610 million surplus, obtained as result of a recent bank settlement. Hawley criticized Gov. Cuomo’s proposed Upstate Revitalization Fund for pitting communities against each other and said surplus funding should be appropriated in a more equitable fashion.

“The surplus would best serve the people of this state by promoting economic revitalization in Upstate New York,” Hawley said. “The governor’s competition plan is a misguided approach that pits communities against each other and creates three winners and four losers. By splitting this money evenly among the seven regions or combining it with the governor’s plan, we could ensure that more regions see tangible economic development. The state’s financial investments in businesses and local projects over the past several years have been hugely beneficial, especially in the rural areas of my district. This surplus funding should be invested back into Upstate communities and support projects that will attract new businesses and jobs to many struggling areas of the state.”

Hawley’s comments come after a press release issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services revealed that Commerzbank has paid a $610 million fine to New York State as part of a punitive package for financial and accountability crimes.

Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Hawley bill would exempt farmers from unemployment insurance for immigrant workers

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, business, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he has become a co-sponsor on legislation, Assembly Bill 06256, that will ease the financial burden placed on farmers. The bill would forgo the requirement that farmers who employ aliens admitted to the United States to perform farm labor pay unemployment insurance for such workers. Under state law, alien laborers are not eligible for unemployment insurance, so there is no need for employers to pay into the unemployment insurance fund.

“I have introduced this legislation with Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Madison County), current Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, after meeting with Farm Bureau representatives from my district,” Hawley said. “As the former owner of Hawley Farms, I know firsthand how hard farmers work for their profits and that sustainability of their business is not guaranteed year to year. This is common-sense legislation that will correct a glaring deficiency in the labor law that mandates farmers pay unemployment insurance for workers who are ineligible. My district contains many farm operations and I will do everything I can to help them keep more of their profits.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 9:16 am

Hawley renews call for two-state vote

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

The more time I spend in the Assembly, the more I notice the distinction between New York City and Upstate New York. It is clear to me that the needs of Downstate continue to dominate New York State politics. Year after year, New York City drains our education fund dry and more attention is given to things like rent control and New York City’s mass transit system; issues for which Upstate New Yorkers have little concern. Two-thirds of representatives in the Assembly have districts south of the Tappan Zee Bridge and their interests continue to dominate the budget process while Upstate is left to fight for scraps.  

With recent news emerging about the Southern Tier toying with the idea of secession to Pennsylvania, Upstate New Yorkers deserve to have a choice about splitting from New York City now more than ever. In 2012, New York spent more on Medicaid than Florida and Texas combined, and this year’s budget will surely raise that to an even higher level. Why should Upstate be forced to take home less pay because of those who choose to remain on government assistance and abuse the system for benefits such as rent and energy assistance and funding for appliances and groceries?

Sen. Joseph Robach (R,C,I-Rochester) and I have recently introduced legislation (A.4167) to allow a referendum on the question, “Do you support the division of New York into two separate states?” In doing so, we could measure the citizen support for this initiative to determine if it is actually feasible. As liberals from New York City continue to move Upstate generation after generation, they will undoubtedly support increased services and more taxation.

New York has one of the highest exodus rates in the country. Younger generations are realizing that a life in New York is not sustainable due to the abusive tax structure and lack of employment opportunities. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to see if separation from New York City is actually feasible. Without the expensive Downstate burden, we could gain education funding, lower taxes, have full Second Amendment rights, and more opportunities to experience the “American Dream.” Join me in fighting for Upstate and passing my legislation so we can build a better “New New York.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 11:30 am

Hawley happy with progress on Women's Equality legislation

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today commented on the Assembly’s decision to pass one plank of the 10-point omnibus Women’s Equality Act (WEA). Hawley was proud to see this legislation finally come before the entire Assembly for a vote and said that a measure of such great importance should not have taken this long to pass the house. The Assembly Majority has blocked separate WEA bills from moving out of committee in order to use the entire 10-bill package, which contains a controversial abortion provision, as a tool for political gain. 

“Today we take a giant leap forward toward enacting true gender equality for New York’s women,” Hawley said. “It is unfortunate that a measure of this magnitude was held for so long in committee by members of the Majority. It is a disservice to New York’s women and an embarrassment to our government that we could not bring this legislation to the floor for a vote earlier. The Assembly Minority Conference has been at the forefront of passing this package as separate bills for years, and today we can finally claim victory.”

Hawley’s comments come after the Assembly passed A.506, which will enact the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act. Identical legislation, Assembly Bill 2704, was introduced by the Minority Conference several years ago but members of the Majority have refused to take action upon it.

Friday, March 13, 2015 at 10:15 am

Hawley: Assembly budget pays little heed to Upstate

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

“The Assembly’s one-house budget resolution all but ignores the needs of Upstate families,” Hawley said. “Unfortunately, a large portion of economic development funding was gutted from the budget proposal, funding that my district has used to upgrade its infrastructure, help struggling companies stay afloat, and expand and foster community projects. It includes a crippling minimum-wage hike, which will surely stifle business expansion, restrict the ability to hire new employees, and raise prices for groceries and other consumer items."

“I have been fighting tooth and nail to restore the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) education cuts that were unfairly taken from our school districts in 2010, and our House’s budget resolution repays $150 million less than it did last year toward restoration of these cuts. Furthermore, Assembly Majority members had yet another chance to pass meaningful ethics reform and adopt Gov. Cuomo’s proposals. They ignored many of the governor’s reforms and have left New York vulnerable to more abuses of power and taxpayer money. We can and should do better for Upstate families, and I will work with my legislative colleagues to make sure this does not stand.”

Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Hawley calls for agriculture tax credit to offset Thruway tolls paid by farmers

post by Howard B. Owens in agriculture, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that he will sponsor a bill to provide tax credits against New York State Thruway tolls for farmers who travel the highway. Assembly Bill 2414 provides a tax credit of 75 percent of the Thruway tolls assumed by farmers in order to allow them more profits when selling their products across the state. Hawley said this is a vital piece of legislation that will help sustain the farms in his Western New York district and allow them to sell crops statewide. 

“Growing up on our family’s farm, I know firsthand the struggles our farmers face every year,” Hawley said. “Profits are not guaranteed and much of the business relies not only on the ability to produce a high yield of crops, but also the ability to transport those products across the state and sell them at a variety of outlets. Thruway tolls are continuing to rise, and large-box trucks and farm vehicles are not allowed on smaller highways. Because of this, farmers are losing a large amount of their profits in tolls. This bill would allow greater intrastate commerce while also financially supporting those who feed our state.”

The legislation is a bipartisan effort currently awaiting action in the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee. Under the bill, to receive the tax credit, farm vehicles cannot exceed 26,000 pounds and must be controlled and operated by a farmer for the transport of agriculture products, farm supplies or farm machinery.

Monday, March 9, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Hawley calls for increased funding for local infrastructure

post by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) attended a press conference Wednesday held by Sen. Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) to call for an increase in funding for local roads, culverts and bridges. The press conference called on the governor and Legislature to increase funding for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) during this year’s budget negotiations.

“Preserving the safety of our roads, bridges and culverts is especially important to my district, where many small businesses and agriculture producers transport products,” Hawley said. “The past few winters have been considerably difficult and have taken their toll on our local roads and bridges. This funding is necessary to ensure the safety of our local business people and the families and school buses that travel these roads almost every day.”

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Hawley supports bill to assist small business owners

post by Howard B. Owens in business, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today renewed his support for New York’s small businesses as the Legislature begins budget negotiations. Hawley cited his own small business ownership and urged the Legislature to make cutting regulations and taxes for small businesses a priority in this year’s budget negotiations.  

“As the owner and operator of a small business for many years, I know the amount of hard work and determination it takes to succeed in New York’s economic climate,” Hawley said. “Small businesses are the backbone of this nation and the driving force behind employment and economic growth, and are oftentimes family owned for generations. It is unfortunate that Gov. Cuomo and the Assembly leadership have, year after year, neglected to enact sweeping deregulation and tax cuts for small businesses to help them hire more employees and compete with larger corporations. My district is home to many small businesses and I will be sure to make their voices heard during this year’s budget negotiations.”

Hawley has received 100-percent ratings from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and Unshackle Upstate for his legislative votes during the 2013-14 year. Hawley also urged other legislators to sponsor and support the Small Business Full Employment Act.

“This legislation provides a comprehensive overhaul of how we regulate and tax small businesses,” Hawley said. “The bill focuses on cornerstones of economic growth such as tax cuts for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, repeal of the 18-A utility tax and tax credits for creating new jobs. I urge my Assembly colleagues to support this bill and help our businesses thrive in a less than ideal economic climate.”

Hawley’s comments came on Small Business Day in Albany, hosted by the NFIB. Hawley has been a staunch supporter of the organization’s efforts during his years in the Assembly.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 10:52 am

Hawley says now is the time for rules reform

post by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today called on the Legislature to pass a comprehensive Assembly Rules Reform package. Hawley said this legislation cannot be delayed any longer in the wake of major scandals involving top House leadership. The proposals are aimed at greatly improving openness, transparency and accountability.  

“The people of New York deserve a higher standard of government,” Hawley said. “These reforms will stand in stark contrast to the sea of corruption we have seen over the past few years. The public is sick and tired of lies, backroom deals and the secrecy that has shrouded the Legislature for years. It is long past the time to shed some light on our internal workings. I have included my own proposal in this package that would mandate a two-thirds vote in the House to pass a message of necessity.

"This would prevent future abuses such as the SAFE Act from coming to the floor for a vote before proper debate and discussion has been initiated. I am calling on my Assembly colleagues across the aisle, who called for these very same proposals weeks ago, to stand with us today and bring this legislation to the floor for a vote.”

Hawley’s comments come after a press conference was held in Albany today by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) to introduce legislation to overhaul the Assembly’s rules. Highlights of the package include term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs, and allowing each member of the Assembly to bring one piece of substantial legislation to the floor for a vote.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 6:28 pm

Hawley encourages participation in business plan competition

post by Howard B. Owens in business, education, steve hawley

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today encouraged college students to participate in New York’s annual business plan competition. Hawley praised the competition for allowing bright students across the state to present new ideas consistent with New York’s focus on nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and advanced technology. More than 600 students are expected to participate and compete for a top cash prize of $100,000.  

“As the owner and operator of a small business, I know the hard work and ingenuity it takes to succeed as a business owner in New York,” Hawley said. “This competition highlights principles that make our state great – determined and visionary entrepreneurs and businesspeople. I am thrilled that we are allowing the next generation of business- and technology-minded students to fulfill their passions right here in New York State and generate ideas that will allow our economy to grow and thrive. I encourage all college students interested in this competition to participate.”

The competition’s regional semifinals, held at St. John Fisher College in Rochester for students from Hawley’s district, will be held in March and early April with the finals being held on April 24 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Since the first competition in 2010, more than 1,130 students have competed with cash prizes being awarded in excess of $1,300,000. More information about the competition can be found at http://www.sunycnse.com/NewYorkBusinessPlanCompetition/2015Program.aspx.

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