Governor's "People First" Campaign Kicks Off in Elmira

Posted May 13, 2011

On Wednesday, May 11th, New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner Darryl Towns brought the "People First” campaign to Corning Community College, where he outlined Governor Cuomo's legislative priorities and told New Yorkers that their voices must be heard in order to get Albany to act on such reforms.

Governor Cuomo recently announced that he and his senior staff will be touring the state in order to speak directly to the people of New York about, among other issues, creating a property tax cap, cleaning up Albany by passing ethics reform and passing a marriage equality bill. Governor Cuomo has said that all of these issues must be addressed during the current legislative session and has asked New Yorkers to call their legislators and urge them to act.

"Darryl Towns has traveled to Elmira to share our message of ethics reform, a property tax cap, and marriage equality," Governor Cuomo said. "We are speaking directly with New Yorkers because change happens when the people are active and engaged with their government."

For those who were unable to attend the presentation, the governor's “People First” campaign focuses on three legislative priorities:

Property Tax Cap:

New Yorkers pay among the highest property taxes in the nation, forcing families to sell their homes and move out of state. Massive property tax increases also discourage businesses from investing and creating jobs. In the last decade, property taxes have increased a staggering 73 percent – that's twice the rate of inflation.
 
Under Governor Cuomo’s plan:

• Local school districts and governments could only raise property taxes each year by 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

• All governments would be included under this plan, and few exemptions would be allowed.

• Local communities and local voters would retain control, however, and could override the cap. For school boards it would require a 60 percent vote on the budget, and for non-school boards it would require a two-thirds vote of the responsible legislative body.

Governor Cuomo’s stance is that the property tax cap would give needed relief to New York taxpayers and encourage governments and school districts to be more efficient and make the most of their resources.
 

Ethics Reform:

Governor Cuomo believes that a new ethics law must be passed that mandates transparency and full disclosure. He also supports the creation of a law that calls for an independent monitor. 

The governor's ethics reform agenda would:

• Require disclosure of clients doing business with the state that are represented by legislators before the state, and disclosure of how much they get paid.

• Require the creation of an independent body to provide oversight and enforcement of ethics rules.

• Require lobbyists to disclose any business relationship with legislators in excess of $1,000.

• Strip pensions from public officials convicted of a felony related to the abuse of their official duties.
 

Marriage Equality:

Governor Cuomo has said that despite New York’s proud tradition as the progressive capital of the nation, on the issue of marriage equality, the state has sadly lagged behind.

Governor Cuomo has stressed that New York should retake a leading role in guaranteeing equal rights for all; that denying marriage to all undermines the very dignity and legitimacy that the state routinely provides to other couples; and that barring marriage equality denies same-sex couples and their families more than 1,000 federal and 700 state rights that are afforded to millions of New Yorkers.

For more information about the “People First” tour, visit www.NYPeopleFirst.com.

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