One-party rule in Albany is an unmitigated disaster. The best part about the 2019 New York State legislative session is that for now, the damage is over. What we saw during the last six months was unchecked liberal extremism too eager to show what could be done, without giving enough consideration to what should be done.
New York Democrats demonstrated their priorities in a number of ways: by lighting up landmarks to celebrate late-term abortion expansion; cheering as Amazon’s 25,000 jobs bailed out of New York; approving $1.3 billion in new taxes for already-overburdened families; dropping a mountain of unworkable, job-killing regulations onto our cornerstone industries; coddling incarcerated criminals and parolees while ignoring traumatized victims; and rewarding illegal immigrants with driving privileges typically reserved for law-abiding citizens.
We had enough existing problems in New York that demanded our attention — our tax rankings remain the worst in the country, outmigration is a national embarrassment, struggling families continue to get nickeled and dimed and our upstate infrastructure is crumbling — yet none of these issues were properly addressed, and willful ignorance won over common sense in 2019.
While this session will best be known for its radical shift away from responsible governing, there were notable achievements highlighting the good that can be done when political agendas are put aside. This year, the Assembly:
• Made the 2 percent property tax cap permanent, establishing important protections for homeowners;
• Reinforced our support for New York’s schools and students by increasing state education investments by nearly $1 billion;
• Decoupled teacher evaluations from flawed state assessments;
• Prevented a trash incinerator from threatening the quality of life, economy, and future well-being of the Finger Lakes Region; and,
• Established overdue reforms to the MTA to address funding, operational, and performance issues that have been ignored for long.
But the minimal amount of success we witnessed was completely overshadowed by the misguided and utterly bewildering priorities of the New York City agenda. When families looked to Albany for help what they saw was a state legislature more focused on political posturing, distracted by Washington D.C., and intent on helping criminals, inmates, and illegal immigrants.
The completion of the legislative session ends a six-month parade of liberal extremism that was not only irresponsible, but incredibly dangerous. I’m afraid that New York State is about to learn that the hard way.
Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C–Canandaigua), a former small-business owner, is the New York Assembly Minority Leader and represents the 131st Assembly District, which encompasses all of Ontario County and parts of Seneca County. This opinion is drawn and edited from a June 21 statement Kolb’s office issued. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org