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League of Women Voters of New York State Education Foundation, Inc.
The questions were prepared by the Leagues of Women Voters of New York State and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
Questions & Answers
1. What measures do you support to save existing jobs and create new jobs in New York State?
One key action that I believe will help to save existing jobs and create new jobs is the leveraging of our academic institutions to make our colleges and universities more responsive to the needs of the business community. I have found that a key concern of business leaders, in addition to lower taxes, is a trained workforce. The SUNY Nanotechnology college is a good example here in Albany where we tied our local university to the growing nanotechnology and semiconductor industry. Buffalo is also doing this with biotechnology. Investments in higher education coupled with more strategic thinking about the needs of businesses we are trying to attract will go a long way in promoting New York, and particularly upstate, as a place where businesses can find superior talent.
2. How do you think New York can best deal with upcoming unsustainable deficit budgets?
We need a mix of cuts and revenue raisers to address the State’s dire fiscal crisis. Cuts undoubtedly need to be made. Although painful, these cuts have and will be made in the education and healthcare arenas. Unless there are other significant increases, it will be very difficult to balance the budget without some real cuts to these areas. I will consider revisiting temporary revenue raisers in an effort to help New York regain some economic ground. I would support a new tax restructuring plan providing that the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share of taxes, i.e. a version of the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax”. However, I will not support revenue raising measures at the expense of the State’s needy and most vulnerable.
3. What reforms would you propose to address inadequate campaign finance rules and enforcement in New York?
We absolutely must break the link – whether real or only in the minds of voters rightly discouraged by the taint of politics – between industry lobbyists and campaign money. One way to do that is with campaign finance reform – strict disclosure, lower contribution limits, aggressive and independent enforcement and harsh penalties. I have long fought for these reforms and I will keep fighting until they are the law in New York State. I have also been a long-time supporter of “clean elections” or the public financing of campaigns. Changes are also needed in the area of enforcement of campaign finance rules. There is no valid reason to continue the antiquated requirement of forcing a deadlocked Board of Elections to bring lawsuits to enforce ministerial filing and excess-contribution violations. Rather, any candidate who fails to file, or who files late, or who accepts an illegal contribution automatically should be penalized. This simple change would greatly enhance compliance.
4. What reforms would you support for the redistricting process?
I support independent, nonpartisan redistricting: a transparent, good-government legislature begins with transparent, good-government redistricting without gerrymandering. But just as I support nonpartisan redistricting, I also support honoring the constitution’s duty to enact a fair redistricting plan on time: the Legislature has a duty to pass a redistricting plan before the 2012 election. I would also give serious consideration to the following reforms:(1)an independent redistricting commission funded outside the legislative process;(2)absolute equality of population between districts (same standard as U.S. House);(3)prohibition on considering partisanship or residency of incumbent or any challenger;(4)mandatory district contiguity;(5)mandatory compactness (with maximum ratio of perimeter to area to minimize gerrymandering);(6)prohibition on increasing the number of Senate districts;(7)mandatory public hearings and comment period on proposed maps and public access to all data sets.
5. Would you support a cap on property taxes and, if so, how do you think school districts can deal with the decrease in revenue?
I would have to analyze the specific proposal for a local property tax cap plan before committing any support. There are several local property tax cap plans currently being discussed in the Legislature. Regardless, providing adequate funding for public education will undoubtedly continue to be a challenge in the years to come. I voted for changes to make New York competitive in the Race to the Top grant program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. As a result we were awarded a large grant. These funds will allow us to infuse $700 million into our schools at a time when it is needed most. In order to give our school districts the resources they need, especially in trying economic times, I also supported a four-measure mandate relief plan tailored specifically to ease the economic constraints under which so many of our school districts are operating. I will continue to explore other options to ensure that we protect and strengthen public education in New York.
Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League. Candidates' responses are not edited or corrected by the League.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 29, 2010 13:26
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