This morning in Herkimer, state Sen. James Seward unveiled his 2018 legislative agenda.
Seward’s outline of issues he plans to tackle this year range from creating a task force on Lyme and tick-borne disease, to starting a heroin task force, to investing in jobs within his district.
Seward also stressed broad-based tax relief, the elimination of outdated mandates and regulations, and an extension to STAR tax relieve. He also talked about eliminating or freezing school taxes for seniors.
Broadband in rural areas is also an absolute necessity, he said.
Here is an outline of Seward’s 2018 priorities provided by Seward’s office:
Increasing Economic Opportunities
Recent initiatives to reduce energy taxes, invest in major economic development and transportation projects, and expand job-training programs are all having a positive effect on New York State’s economy. Last year the senate successfully led the fight for the most significant workers’ compensation reform in a decade and expanded ride-sharing throughout the state. Moving forward, additional broad-based tax relief programs and regulatory reforms are needed to ensure job growth.
Senator Seward’s economic development priorities include:
· Broad-based tax relief programs to lower the cost of doing business;
· Elimination of outdated and unnecessary state regulations;
· Extension of the STAR property tax relief program to small business owners;
· Greater workforce training – connecting educators with employers;
· Broadband expansion to rural areas.
A More Affordable New York
A record middle class income tax cut took effect on January 1, 2018. The measure, authored by the state senate, reduces personal income tax rates for more than 4.4 million New Yorkers and tens of thousands of small businesses. For middle class taxpayers, savings will average approximately $250 in 2018 and grow to $700 annually. State government has also employed fiscally conservative principles to keep spending in check. Additional measures, and an end to unfunded state mandates, will also help stop the exodus from New York.
Senator Seward’s affordability priorities include:
· A two-percent state spending cap;
· Permanent property tax levy cap;
· 25 percent increase in property tax rebate checks;
· Eliminate the 2 percent gross receipts tax on energy;
· Freeze and eliminate school taxes for senior citizens;
· Double the exemption on retirement income.
Education - Supporting our Future
Education aid is consistently one of the largest portions of the state budget. The 2017-18 state budget included a record level of school aid funding of approximately $26 billion – a 4.4 percent increase from the previous year. Additional steps are needed to further help schools in low wealth areas of the state. Programs to ensure students are properly trained for tech jobs and assistance to help families and students afford a college education will also be a leading priority.
Lyme Task Force
Senator Seward was recently appointed to the Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases (TBDs). The Task Force is charged with improving prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of these diseases to better protect the health of New Yorkers and their families.
Senator Seward is co-sponsoring newly introduced legislation (S.6926) to create specific protocol to notify individuals of their diagnoses related to Lyme and other TBDs. The senate bill would require the Commissioner of Health to work with health care providers to develop a standard protocol and patient notification for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and TBDs.
Heroin Task Force
As a member of the Senate’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction since its inception in 2014, Senator Seward has been a leader in enacting new laws focused on addressing the heroin crisis.