Karl on the Issues

 

Taxes and Spending
New York’s tax burden is one of the highest in the nation and here in the Hudson Valley we are facing some of the highest property taxes in the state. As a community leader, it breaks my heart to hear stories of families uprooting and leaving for more affordable states.

Ever since I was elected town supervisor of Deerpark, I have been working to lower our tax burden, create efficiencies and find ways to streamline services, cutting taxes in the process. New York City politicians are spending our tax dollars to fix their city’s mismanagement and that needs to end. Our families deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money because we deserve to spend our money, not the government.

I have authored the School Property Tax Reduction Act to mandate that Albany pays for more of what Albany legislates, and has the potential to cut an average homeowner’s property taxes by 75 percent. Useless spending like lavish tax credits to Hollywood movie producers or Gov. Cuomo’s failed START-UP NY program are a burden on us all, and I have been a leading proponent to eliminate superfluous and wasteful spending like this.

 

Opioid Epidemic
The heroin and opioid epidemic is a scourge on our community and is claiming too many of our children’s lives. Addiction is a disease that does not discriminate, and we all know a neighbor, friend, family member or colleague who has been affected. Recently, I, along with the Assembly Republican Conference held a series of statewide grassroots forums to address this crisis and we are working diligently to implement our solutions in Albany.

My plan: TREE

Treatment: We need to fund recovery centers at the local level and empower those on the frontlines to be able to help addicts recover. This includes waiving the ‘fail-first’ requirement where some insurance companies mandate an addict relapses first before they can be admitted to a longer addiction program

Recovery: Making sure recovery centers have adequate resources and enough beds is crucial, and I’ll press the state for more funding to fight this epidemic. Last year, the state secured $200 million to fight the heroin epidemic and I will continue that crusade in Albany.

Enforcement: We need to empower law enforcement to lock up dealers and throw away the key. This includes the ‘death by dealer statute,’ where dealers can be charged with manslaughter if the person who they sell heroin to dies of an overdose.

Education: We should be educating children starting in third grade about the dangers of heroin and opioids to prevent them from falling victim to addiction, and make sure Narcan is readily available to teachers, parents and police.

 

Economic Development
Our state has the 49th worst ranked business climate in the country. Making New York truly open for business starts with creating a business-friendly environment and incentivizing job growth and earning, not penalizing success. Too often, I hear of how much cheaper it is to start a business in neighboring Pennsylvania than in New York, and that is something I am fighting to change.

Failed and corrupt programs like START-UP NY, Regional Economic Development Councils and the Buffalo Billion, all of which were started by the governor, are rife with corruption and hand-pick winners and losers, leaving the rest of us to fight for scraps. I am fighting to restore transparency in these corrupt programs and mandate job reporting requirements so our tax dollars are being used to actually create jobs.

Our tax dollars should not be used by the governor and Albany politicians for fancy award shows or to give years of tax amnesty to out-of-state companies. My focus remains on cutting red tape and helping small businesses, many of which are family owned, cut regulations, business taxes and offset the disastrous minimum wage hike to create jobs, keep profits local and support more homegrown business expansion.

 

Ethics Reform
Albany has become the laughingstock of state governments. Too many entrenched politicians have lost sight of the struggles of the middle class and use their cozy positions to betray taxpayers and the public trust. The trials of Sheldon Silver and Gov. Cuomo’s top aides are a stark reminder that Albany is far from transparent and real ethics reform is far past due.

Corrupt lawmakers need to be locked up in prison, repay anything they stole from taxpayers and have their pensions removed for life. We need to make an example of dishonesty and prevent the rich and powerful from leaving in a golden parachute.

I will continue calling out corruption in Albany, no matter the party, and will fight to see that the Public Officers Accountability Act becomes law – the strongest anti-corruption legislation in state history. This is the people’s government, and corrupt lawmakers need to know, if they break the law, they are going to prison.

 

Protecting the Environment
The Hudson Valley is one of the most beautiful places on Earth – truly a great community steeped in history and such a wonderful place to call home. I have always held protecting the environment near and dear to my heart, whether it’s securing funding to ensure clean and reliable drinking water, maintaining our trails, boat launches and parks or protecting air quality, I will continue to make our home a better place than when we found it.  

 

Infrastructure
Infrastructure is the backbone of any flourishing community and necessary for economic development. Safe and reliable bridges, roads and highways are vital for efficient emergency services, our businesses transporting goods across the state and our families traveling to and from home.

I am fighting to increase CHIPS funding, the main funding mechanism for local road repair, and build on the success of the PAVE-NY, BRIDGE-NY and Extreme Winter Recovery programs that were part of this year’s budget agreement. Well-maintained infrastructure creates jobs, supports a robust economy and gives us all a valuable peace of mind.

 

Protecting First Responders
Our police, firefighters and emergency services personnel are some of the most dedicated and selfless people in our community, working around the clock to fight crime and keep us safe. Unfortunately, vitriol and scrutiny toward these groups has reached an all-time high with many radical groups placing undue blame on these brave men and women. I am championing the Blue Lives Matter bill which would make certain crimes committed against first responders classified as a hate crime, and I recently worked to pass a law increasing disability benefits for volunteer firefighters battling cancer. I will always stand with these courageous men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day and will continue to be their voice in Albany.

 

Agriculture
We have some of the best farmers in the nation right here in the Hudson Valley, and I have worked diligently to increase funding for Agriculture Local Assistance programs and deliver $850,000 to market our agricultural products and programs statewide. I am also fighting for the “Grown in New York” campaign to increase the sale of locally grown produce and sponsor legislation to incorporate local products in our schools. I stand with the New York Farm Bureau and am humbled to have once again been inducted into their Circle of Friends for support of our local agriculture industry. Our farmers know that I will always have their backs in Albany.