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Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't believe the hype — New York is a moderate state

At every turn, it appears that our state is being pushed further and further to the left. Last year, New York City elected a liberal and very progressive mayor, Bill de Blasio. But despite the fact that the city has become much more progressive and socially liberal, New York state is much more moderate than it is progressive.

The reality is that there are more Democrats in our state than there are Republicans. Even though Democrats outnumber Republicans almost 2 to 1, however, the ideological layout remains much different.

Take a trip to central New York and try out a phrase like “redistribution of wealth.” Here on Long Island, in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, where property taxes are among the highest in the country, people need relief, and have had enough of being taxed out of house and home.

Let me tell you what our state would be like if, come November, the Republicans were to lose control of the State Senate. There would no longer be any balance of power. When Democrats dominated state politics at seemingly every level, taxes soared and Albany was riddled with scandal and corruption. That changed when Republicans managed to take the majority in the Sate Senate with the help of the Independent Democratic Caucus.

Under the leadership of Rockville Centre’s own Sen. Dean Skelos, in his tenure as Senate majority leader, the political atmosphere has become radically different and much improved. Albany went from being a place of utter dysfunction to a well-respected center of government. Skelos has had an admirable working relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They have gotten things done.

The Republican majority in the Senate tackled the tough issues in a bipartisan fashion, which gave New York an opportunity to succeed. They did not cower from critical political issues such as property tax relief, economic development, job creation and education aid.

The accomplishments speak for themselves: four consecutive on-time budgets that avoided new taxes and fees and closed a $10 billion deficit. The Republican majority capped spending growth at 2 percent, saving taxpayers $16 billion, approximately $2,700 per taxpayer. That’s not pocket change, friends. That’s real savings.

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