Assembly Republicans say legislative work is far from finished

Assembly Republican Conference Leader Brian Kolb says “the last days of session are precious commodities, and each is an opportunity to address the numerous problems plaguing New York. Simply coasting to the end, as the governor has suggested, serves no one.”

With 11 days left in the 2017 Legislative Session, the Assembly Republican Conference is making its final case for priority legislation they would like to see passed before June 21.

Increased oversight of economic development programs, ethics reforms, creating a domestic violence database, reducing red tape for small businesses and placing a moratorium on new unfunded state mandates are on the Republican Conference’s agenda for the remainder of the legislative session.

In a move that could be significant for the future of Governor Cuomo’s Start-UP NY program, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, highlighted the priority of conducting an independent audit of state-funded development programs, such as Start-UP NY.

The state Comptroller has audited the governor’s economic development programs in the past, but this law would establish regular reporting requirements for the benefit of lawmakers and the public.

Eyebrows were raised earlier this year when specific language requiring recipients of the ten-year tax break to report on investment and job creation was not included in the 2018 budget.

The Governor’s Office says that the change in reporting was a clerical mistake, but has resisted legislation reinstating quarterly reporting guidelines.

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-Kenmore, introduced a bill (A.7427) designed to correct the budget’s mistake. The bipartisan bill specifies how job data is to be presented in annual reports issued by the Department of Economic Development so that there are distinct annual and adjusted cumulative data available for review.

Since the inception of this program in 2013, participants in the Start-UP NY have, as a condition of program eligibility, reported on their progress, including how many net new jobs their companies have created and this legislation restores that requirement.

“Despite Gov. Cuomo’s public declaration that all of the pressing, big-ticket items on this year’s agenda were sufficiently addressed in the state budget, the Assembly Minority Conference respectfully disagrees,” Kolb said. “Our work is far from finished, especially considering New Yorkers are still struggling with one of the nation’s highest tax burdens, worst business climates and the black cloud of corruption that plagues Albany remains unmitigated.”

Kolb also highlights mandate relief as a major issue by proposing a moratorium on all spending mandates of more than $10,000 for municipalities and $1 million on the state level. Other priority bills for the Assembly Republicans include term limits for legislative leaders, replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics with and independent panel and creating a state registry for domestic violence offenders, known Brittany’s Law.

Brittany’s Law would require convicted domestic violence offenders to register with the state criminal justice division upon parole or release from incarceration, hospitalization or institutionalization.

The bill was written after the brutal 2009 murder of 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua, and her mother, Helen Buchel, of Geneva, New York. Buchel had recently begun dating the killer, John Edward Brown, but unbeknownst to her, Brown recently had been released from prison for inflicting domestic violence on his infant child.

“These last days of session are precious commodities, and each is an opportunity to address the numerous problems plaguing New York,” Kolb said. “Now is the time to ramp up legislative activities and adopt strong, meaningful reforms. Simply coasting to the end, as the governor has suggested, serves no one.”