While my colleagues and I gear up for a new legislative session, I am optimistic for a brighter and better 2022. To say that the last year has been littered with obstacles and unfortunate distractions is an understatement, and it is now time to get New York back on track for the 20 million residents who call this great state their home.
As Assembly Minority Leader, improving the way of life for every New Yorker has always been, and will continue to be, my number one priority. This year, along with the support of the members of my conference, I will again be advocating for measures that strengthen the state’s economic viability, make our streets and neighborhoods safer, alleviate financial pressure on middle-class taxpayers and families, and offer true government reform in the hopes of restoring faith in elected officials.
The New York Legislature must act without partisan politics, move past the scandals that plagued Albany for most of the past year, and deliver sound policies for our constituents. Elected officials from both sides of the aisle must embrace the upcoming legislative session for what it is, an opportunity to get New York back on the right path.
Bad policies and ill-advised measures implemented over the last few years have pushed New Yorkers to leave for more opportunities to achieve prosperity. Before things slide further in the wrong direction, our conference will again be advocating for:
• The “Inflation Relief & Consumer Assistance Plan,” calling for the suspension of state sales-tax charges on everyday items including gasoline, personal-care products and food, as Americans deal with staggering inflation and cost-of-living increases;
• Government reform, including replacing JCOPE with an independent ethics watchdog, televising Assembly committee meetings, and ensuring proper legislative procedures remain in place even if the legislature is forced to, once again, operate remotely;
• The “Restore Order” initiative, giving judges back much-needed discretion on bail, requiring unanimity from parole-board members when considering early release and other reforms aimed at keeping violent criminals off the streets; and
• A wide variety of measures designed to stabilize the economy and bolster the state’s small businesses and workers still struggling to recover from the devastating economic impact of the pandemic.
With a renewed focus, we can reverse troubling trends impacting the quality of life for all New Yorkers and once again become a desired destination for people to safely live, work, and raise a family. I’m eager to get started, and look forward to working with the legislature and Gov. Hochul to improve our state’s fiscal outlook and give New Yorkers the tools they need to succeed.
William (Will) A. Barclay, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County.