Legislative session ends; post mortems begin
The regular legislative session ended less than 24 hours ago and reactions to the six-month period are beginning to roll in.
Below is a sample of what people are saying...
• State Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna, said, "It's been a wonderful year in terms of functioning well and working with this governor."
He felt a lot had been accomplished, but said that action on mandate relief was the one big failure this session. "There was a commission that the governor sent around the state .... and their silence has been deafening," Farley said, predicting the Legislature will be back before 2013 to address this issue.
• State Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said the session was filled with plenty of "notable" accomplishments, including a budget without any new taxes or fees, billions in funding to fix the state's aging infrastructure and help for the people impacted by last summer's flooding.
He was pleased with the Senate's focus on economic developent, but added in a statement, "I was disappointed that the Assembly failed to take up several other job creating measures, including my bill to eliminate business taxes on manufacturers which passed the senate with overwhelming bi-partisan support."
“Overall, many of my goals were met translating to a better functioning state, a more promising business climate and an improved environment to live and raise a family.”
• The Business Council of New York State credited the session with moving the state toward a more "competitive business climate," with the Legislature passing bills that helped job growth and defeating bills that would have added to the burden on businesses.
In particular the group was happy that a minimum wage increase, a handful of prevailing wage bills, collective bargaining for physicians with health care plans and a bill to punish businesses that moved a portion of existing in-state call centers out of the country, all failed to pass.
On the pro-business side, the Business Council liked the creation of Tier Vi, the passage of a bill that is the first step to legal non-Indian casinos and the restoration of a tax credit for the craft beer industry.
• The business coalition Unshackle Upstate released a statement characterizing the session as "another step forward."
Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate, commended the Legislature for not adding any new taxes or fees and for creating the Tier VI pension reform.
"We are pleased the Senate stood firm against the proposal to increase and index the state’s minimum wage, and that no legislation that would have driven up the cost of health care passed both houses. We are also gratified that the Legislature did not take steps to expand the application of the state’s prevailing wage laws, which drive up taxes without providing greater value to taxpayers," he said.
Sampson acknowledged there is more work to be done, though, citing unfunded mandates.
Follow @GazettePolitics on Twitter.