Saturday, January 22, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Legislation to Pay Down National Debt
“I consider it a great privilege to have the opportunity to serve New York’s 23rd Congressional District,” said Owens. There is still plenty of work to do to help create jobs and get the economy moving again. My ‘War on Debt’ lays out a specific blueprint for reining in debts owed to foreign nations and putting that money – which is exempt from taxes - back in the pockets of average Americans. This is not the only way to solve our debt crisis, but this legislation begins a serious conversation that will help Congress chart a path to fiscal responsibility.”
The “War on Debt Act” addresses the national debt on two fronts. First, it creates a type of savings bond whose revenue is dedicated exclusively to paying down the national debt, beginning with debt that is held by foreign entities. Second, it sets spending limits in place for the federal government – 3% of the GDP for the annual deficit and 10% of the nation’s three-year average GDP for the national debt – ensuring that Washington can never use the bonds as a means to support reckless spending. Americans could buy the bonds knowing they will be used to pay down the national debt, and get the benefit of a tax-free investment that will yield benefits for many years.
“Just as small businesses across the country have to balance their books and working families have live within their means, Congress must learn better stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” continued Owens. “With the debt now exceeding $14 trillion, it is well past time to put our fiscal house in order. As we reduce the trillions of dollars we owe to countries like China and Japan, we will increase our negotiating position in global markets.”
The bill specifically states that the revenue generated from purchase of these “War on Debt” bonds will be dedicated to repaying the national debt, taking interest payments on existing debt out of the hands of foreign countries and putting them into the wallets of the American people.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
The North Country Democrat was able to catch up with former Senator and current Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets ,Darrel Aubertine, yesterday at Governor Cuomo's regional State of the State address in Watertown NY. Commissioner Aubertine spoke with us about what his direction will be with the agency. Here's what he had to say..
Congratulations Darrel Aubertine from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.
The one thing that was a constant during Commissioner Aubertine's time in politics was that he connected with people in a truly extraordinary way. His connections were never more evident than at yesterdays speech. The line that formed to congratulate Darrel was something to see. In classic Darrel form he took what ever time was needed to talk to each and every person that wanted to chat.
You could see a sense of relief on the faces of all assembled that although we may have come up short on this last Senate race, New York State came out way ahead with the pick of Darrel Aubertine as AG Commissioner.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Listen in to part one HERE on WAMC
Listen in to part two HERE on WAMC
Lisent in to part three HERE on WAMC
AREA FARMERS TO BE AWARE OF NEW GRANT FUNDING
The Assemblywoman said, “Area farmers will potentially be able to save up 75% of the cost of electricity and gas efficiency investments. The cost of energy is an escalating operating cost on farms and saving money in this area goes right to their bottom line. Equipment such as hot water reclaimers, variable speed vacuum pumps as well as other equipment which will increase energy efficiency on the farm while decreasing energy cost may be funded with this grant opportunity. Energy audits will be performed to show farmers where their biggest savings can be attained.
The Assemblywoman is contacting NYSERDA to schedule an outreach seminar on this grant opportunity. Anyone interested in attending the event may call her office @ 786-0284 or 386-2037.
The crowd at Jefferson Community College was something to see. People from all political divide came together to listen to Governor Cuomo's plan for this great state. Although there were some light moments, the speech was very specific on what will be done to take this state back from the special interests.
The North Country Democrat was taken back by the volunteers that made this day such a success. Many from the Jefferson County Democratic Committee were on hand to volunteer and WOW what a great job they did. Some of the people volunteering today were: Patti Shaughnessy, Michelle Coullier, Jonathan Cole, Mike Flynn, Erica Marks Leonard,Sandra and Ron Cole and Chairman Sean Hennessey.
With the vision, passion and plan presented today we can truly see this great state becoming the Empire state once again.
Below you'll find the release from today's event.
ALBANY, NY (01/14/2011)(readMedia)-- Declaring New York State at a crucial crossroads, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today traveled to Watertown to present the action plan outlined in his recent State of the State Address. Governor Cuomo wants to fundamentally transform New York State's government and economy by getting the state's fiscal house in order, radically redesigning our governmental structures and operations, and restoring integrity and performance to state government. Governor Cuomo noted that the decisions we make now will impact our state for decades to come.
"To fix Albany, it is essential that we work together and make sure that communities in the North Country, like Watertown, are part of the process," Governor Cuomo said. "The challenges that exist in Watertown ripple across the state and this is where we must start to identify solutions and put our state on the right track."
Governor Cuomo spoke to hundreds of New Yorkers at the Jefferson County Community College. The Governor said he would open up government to the public and work in partnership with all stakeholders to address the serious fiscal challenges facing New York State and its local governments.
In that spirit, the Governor unveiled a new Web site, www.NYcitizenscampaign.com, where the public is invited to communicate ideas, tips, and concerns directly with their government.
In light of the enormous fiscal challenges facing New York, Governor Cuomo's agenda relies on rethinking core government operations and economic development strategies to provide better results and to maximize resources.
Governor Cuomo outlined the following initiatives as part of his message:
• Emergency Fiscal Plan: Governor Cuomo outlined an Emergency Financial Plan that closes the $10 billion deficit in the 2011-12 budget without raising taxes or borrowing. The plan called for imposing a one-year salary freeze on the vast majority of public employees whose contracts are up for renegotiation as of April 1; holding the line on taxes; and imposing a state spending cap limiting spending growth to the rate of inflation.
• Rightsizing Government: Saying that redesigning New York State government is essential to rebuilding the state's economy, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order creating the Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission to make state government more accountable and efficient by reducing the number of agencies, authorities, and commissions by 20 percent. The SAGE Commission is directed to submit to the Governor a rightsizing plan to reduce the number of agencies by May 1st of this year. Under additional legislation proposed by the Governor, the Governor would then submit the rightsizing plan to the Legislature for action with the plan going in to effect, unless the Legislature acted within 30 days to reject it. Director of Agency Redesign and Efficiency Paul Francis will serve as Co-Chair with the Governor appointing one or more additional Co-Chairs.
• Redesigning the Medicaid program: Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order aimed at redesigning New York State's costly Medicaid program. The order calls for the creation of a new Medicaid Redesign Team to find ways to save money within the Medicaid program for the Governor's upcoming state budget proposal for the 2011-12 Fiscal Year. Based on the nationally recognized model used in Wisconsin that involved bringing stakeholders together to find efficiencies and cost savings within the Medicaid program, the team includes leaders from the healthcare industry, the Governor's office, the legislative bodies, and other business, labor, and consumer advocates. Jason Helgerson, whom the Governor appointed to serve as New York State Medicaid Director and created the Wisconsin model, will be the Team's Executive Director.
Under the Governor's order, the Team's work is underway and must submit its first report with findings and recommendations to the Governor by March 1 for consideration in the budget process.
• Providing Mandate Relief: Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order creating the "Mandate Relief Redesign Team" ("Team") to review unfunded and underfunded mandates imposed by the New York State government on school districts, local governments, and other local taxing districts. The Team, chaired by Senior Advisor to the Governor Larry Schwartz, includes representatives from private industry, education, labor, and government and look for ways to reduce the costs of mandated programs, identify mandates that are ineffective and outdated, and determine how school districts and local governments can have greater ability to control expenses. The Team's work is underway and it will submit a first set of recommendations to the Governor by March 1, 2011 for consideration in the Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget process. The Team will continue its review until the end of Fiscal Year 2011-12.
• Redesigning Local Governments: Governor Cuomo is creating a program to reward local governments that save money by rightsizing. The Citizen Re-Organization Empowerment Grants will provide up to $100,000 to cover all or part of the costs of merger and dissolutions studies.
• Redesigning Education: Noting that New York is first in spending but 34th in results, Governor Cuomo proposed restructuring a portion of our education aid to create incentives that reward school districts for improving student performance and implementing management efficiency policies.
• Transforming the ethical environment in Government: Governor Cuomo's "Clean Up Albany" agenda would institute campaign finance reforms including a system of public financing for elections, limits on contribution levels, creating an independent redistricting commission, creating independent monitoring and enforcement of ethics laws, and requiring full disclosure of outside income and clients. Governor Cuomo also proposed to outlaw "pay to play" to limit the impact of special interests, strip pensions for public officials convicted of a felony for abusing the public trust, and improve government performance and transparency through technology.
Transforming New York's Economy:
Governor Cuomo said, "Business built New York, and we are declaring that New York is once again open for business."
Governor Cuomo said that restoring the state's historically thriving private sector will require holding the line on taxes and working to lower taxes in the future. His economic development agenda seeks to help government to be a job facilitator through the following initiatives:
• Creating regional Economic Development Councils: Noting that those working at the local level know their area economies best, he will create regional economic development councils to work with state agencies to allocate resources. To ensure that state agencies and the councils are working to create jobs, Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy will lead these councils, whose members will be drawn from the private sector, local governments, state agencies, and academic institutions.
• Fixing the recently-enacted Excelsior Tax Credit Program: Governor Cuomo proposed to revise the recently enacted Excelsior Tax Credit Program to produce better results for New Yorkers. His proposals would restructure the value and length of the tax credit to provide greater incentives for job creation; restructure incentives for improving properties; pay credits as job-creation milestones are met rather than at the end of the proposal; expand research and development tax credits; and streamline the application and approval process.
• Create a permanent Power for Jobs Program: To help keep manufacturers in New York State, Governor Cuomo introduced a permanent Power for Jobs program to provide predictability and stability of supply with long-term contracts, and incorporate efficiency incentives to reward improvements.
• Enacting Property Tax Relief: Governor Cuomo's property tax cap will set the cap at the rate of inflation or two percent, whichever is less; prohibit any property tax levy above the cap unless endorsed by both by the local governing board and a 60 percent majority of the people during an election; and provide only limited exceptions such as extraordinary legal or capital expenditures.
Making New York the Progressive Capital of the Nation
Governor Cuomo seeks to reclaim New York's status as the progressive leader in the nation in the following ways:
• Better protecting consumers and investors: A newly-formed Department of Financial Regulation will merge the Insurance Department, Banking Department, and the Consumer Protection Board to better regulate modern financial services organizations. A primary mission will be to stand up for consumers, protect them from predatory lending and unlawful foreclosure practices, and provide access to good, honest, and capable financial services at competitive rates.
• A cleaner, greener environment: Governor Cuomo will create the "NY Cleaner, Greener Communities Program" to provide competitive grants that will encourage communities to develop regional sustainable growth strategies in housing, transportation, emissions control, and energy efficiency. The program will emphasize revitalizing urban areas through smart growth, creating green jobs, building green infrastructure including roof and rain gardens, and strengthening environmental justice and protection.
• Expanding Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) support: Of the 1.9 million business entities operating in New York State, more than 50 percent are owned by women or minorities. The vast majority of these companies are small businesses and a critical driver of the New York State economy. To ensure that MWBEs have the opportunity to earn their fair share of the state's business, Governor Cuomo directed state agencies to double the current MWBE participation goal from 10 to 20 percent, ease bonding restrictions that they will face, and expand the Owner-Controlled Insurance Program model to improve opportunities for small businesses.
• Juvenile Justice Reorganization: With a goal of reducing wasteful spending, Governor Cuomo will undertake an immediate reorganization of the state's youth detention facilities with the goal of consolidation, while providing current staff the priority for relocation to other facilities, retraining, and/or reemployment opportunities. To avoid keeping facilities open that have few or no children, he proposed a repeal of the requirement mandating a 12-month notice requirement to close facilities.
• Expanding fresh food into urban centers: To help revitalize urban areas and develop markets for New York farmers, Governor Cuomo will seek ways to expand the presence of locally-grown food markets in urban areas. This will include working to revitalize the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market in the Bronx, which supplies a large portion of the produce for New York City's and the region's food consumption, and creating a "Share NY Food" Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that develops partnerships with farmers and residents to expand access and resources and make fresh food available to consumers in urban areas.
• Providing for marriage equality for all New Yorkers: To end discrimination against same-sex couples who wish to get married, Governor Cuomo called for the passage of legislation legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, as has been done in many states and other countries.
• Protect Reproductive Rights: To protect a woman's right to choose options in the face of an unplanned or problematic pregnancy, Governor Cuomo will fight for passage of reproductive rights legislation to protect the fundamental right of reproductive freedom and a woman's right to make private health care decisions.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
announced the following nominations
to senior positions within
the state government
Mr. Aubertine recently served as State Senator of the 48th Senate District in Central and Northern New York, which is comprised of Oswego, Jefferson and part of St. Lawrence counties. He served as chair of both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Rural Resources Commission, and as the ranking majority member and vice chair of the Energy & Telecommunications Committee. Before joining the Senate in 2008, Mr. Aubertine represented the 118th Assembly district in the New York State Assembly for five years, where he served as the chair of the Commission on State-Local Relations. From 1996-2001, he was a member of the Jefferson County Legislature and was elected to chair in 1998. Mr. Aubertine's career in government began in 1994, when he served as a member of the Cape Vincent Town Council.
Since 1971, Mr. Aubertine has owned and operated the sixth-generation heritage Triple-A Farm in Cape Vincent, for which he purchased a plot of land while still in high school. Mr. Aubertine has been a member of numerous cooperatives and organizations, including the Cape Vincent Milk Producers, Allied and Eastern, Agway, St. Lawrence County Farm Bureau, the New York State Farm Bureau, and the Dairy Herd Improvement Association.
"Darrel's experience and expertise in agriculture is unparalleled," Governor Cuomo said. "He fought for years on behalf of farmers in the state legislature and delivered real results. New York's agricultural community will thrive with Darrel at the helm of this critical department, and I thank him for his service."
Dean Norton, President of the New York Farm Bureau, said, "We are pleased that Governor Cuomo has selected an individual who has long-standing connections to agriculture and our farm families. Darrel Aubertine has strong roots in the agricultural community and has proven to be a staunch ally through the years. New York Farm Bureau's almost 30,000 members look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and Mr. Aubertine to serve and strengthen agriculture."
Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, said, "The North Country has enjoyed Darrel Aubertine's leadership for years on agriculture issues, and now the entire state will benefit from his knowledge and vision. Not only is he an experienced farmer, but he has a very strong command of the issues confronting New York's producers and the opportunities for bolstering agriculture as a key part of a stronger state economy. On top of that, his years in local government and then the State Legislature will help him to effectively turn his knowledge and vision into effective new policies and initiatives. Governor Cuomo has made an excellent choice for agriculture and economic development across our state."
David J. Skorton, President of Cornell University, said, "We congratulate the governor and Mr. Aubertine on this nomination. As chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he has already demonstrated his commitment to the success of Upstate's largest industry. Under Darrel's leadership we look forward to continuing Cornell's partnership to support and enhance the food and agriculture industry in New York State."
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“I’m certainly pleased to have this opportunity to continue serving and be a part of Governor Cuomo’s administration," said Darrel J. Aubertine. "I look forward to working with our new governor, continuing my relationships with members of the agricultural community and getting to work again on behalf of our state’s number one industry.”