Sen. John Flanagan’s “Prebuttal”

Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan. Legislative Gazette file photo

The following “prebuttal” by Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan was issued on Tuesday, January 7, the day before Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State Address. The full and unedited statement is reprinted below.


I’m John Flanagan, Leader of the State Senate’s Republican Conference.

We’re the opposition to the Legislature’s ruling Democrats in Albany and a voice for millions of New Yorkers.

Last year, those Democrats embraced a radical agenda that failed hardworking taxpayers and their families.

It meant more taxes, more spending, priorities that didn’t match yours…and thanks to a controversial new bail law, you and your family are now less safe.

Acting on their own, Democrats raised taxes by more than $6 billion.

They slapped new taxes on every internet purchase and eliminated the property tax rebate checks important to homeowners and seniors.

Democrats handed illegal immigrants New York driver’s licenses and free college tuition.

And what did you get?

Nothing but a bill to cover the cost of free college and other benefits for those same illegal immigrants.

If you’re like most families I know, you’re sinking deeper into debt trying to afford college for your own kids.

It’s not fair, but it’s also not surprising. This is what ONE PARTY, DEMOCRAT RULE looks like in the state of New York.

Meanwhile, the state now faces a massive $6.2 Billion deficit, all of it the result of Democrat overspending.

It will likely mean painful cuts, more taxes, or both this year, courtesy of the same Democrats who created this mess in the first place.

When Republicans led the state Senate, we managed the state’s finances as if they were our own – keeping spending within a 2 percent cap, balancing the budget and cutting taxes 88 times to save taxpayers $12 billion.

Last year, Democrats in Albany rejected a game-changing Amazon project that would have delivered 40,000 new jobs and more than $27 billion in new revenue for our state.

On top of that, they put more obstacles in front of businesses and our family farms.

And now, there are fewer opportunities to keep our kids in New York where they can live, work and raise a family of their own.

In fact, more people left New York than left any other state in the nation last year. Loudly and clearly those people are saying there are not enough jobs and they can’t afford to live here.

For the sake of all of our families, this exodus must be reversed.

Worst of all, Democrats in Albany enacted changes to our criminal justice system that have put the rights of criminals ahead of victims and their families.

This new bail reform law just went into effect and already we know it is an unmitigated disaster.

Individuals who have committed serious – even violent crimes – are being released out into the community where they are free to commit more crimes and offend again.

An Albany man strangled and stabbed a woman to death in his home. He was RELEASED.

A Long Island man committed a string of burglaries and was RELEASED to rob another bank.

A motorist killed a Hudson Valley woman in a brutal Christmas Eve hit and run. He was RELEASED, along with countless sexual predators and domestic violence abusers who are being granted mandatory release under the new law.

Many people saw this chaos coming, including Democrat and Republican district attorneys, county sheriffs, and Republicans in both the Senate and Assembly.

But Democrats wouldn’t listen.

And, as a result of these so-called “reforms,” New Yorkers are less safe in their homes, on their streets, and in their communities.

Fixing this dangerous new law must be our top priority this year.

The state of our state is fragile, unaffordable, and dangerous. But, it does not have to be that way.

In the coming weeks, Senate Republicans will unveil a counter agenda to what Democrats are offering in Albany.

Instead of raising taxes, we will cut them.

We will help small businesses create new jobs for a new decade.

We will control spending and secure New York’s future.

And, we will insist that prosecutors and the police have more of a say on criminal justice issues than the Albany politicians do.

It’s all part of a Senate Republican action plan called “Clear Vision 2020.”

We have real solutions to the challenges facing New York. And, we look forward to sharing them with you and getting better results for you and your family.