Assemblyman Outlines Opposition To Proposed Raises

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Assembly member Steve Katz is co-sponsoring a bill to reduce the number of days the Assembly is in session from 66 to 35.
Assembly member Steve Katz is co-sponsoring a bill to reduce the number of days the Assembly is in session from 66 to 35.

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – State Assembly member Steve Katz (R, Mohegan Lake) kicked off what he termed "a people's movement" Tuesday to reduce Albany's "wasteful spending habits."

Flanked by Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace and Town Board member Terrence Murphy at Murphy's Restaurant in Yorktown, Katz outlined several steps to save $100 million per year, including shortening the legislative session by half and cutting legislator salaries from $79,500 to $35,000.

"This was never supposed to be a full-time job for anyone," said Katz, an assemblyman for the past 19 months who is seeking re-election in November. "This is a part-time job and should be taken as such. Someone has to tell the truth about what we see in New York state."

Katz, a veterinarian with a practice in the Bronx, said that several months of the year legislators barely work two hours a day and that most of the bills proposed "are an embarrassment to all of us."

"Home rule bills are a disgrace to every taxpayer in the state," he said. "It has gone haywire. We have much too much government and much too much regulations because legislators have to justify their existence."

Katz is co-sponsoring a bill that would reduce the number of days the Assembly stays in session from 66 to 35 days, which he estimated would save the state $150 million annually. He is also opposed to a proposal to raise legislators' salaries to $100,000, although he said he wasn't sure if he would accept the raise if it were approved.

Grace and Murphy applauded Katz for his efforts to rein in spending in state government.

"Even on a local level it's important that we see state government come under control," Grace said. "In local government, this is not what happens. We look at the fiscal impact of everything."

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Texas' legislature meets once every two years. They are adding more jobs than any other state and than the nation overall, have massively expanded rural health care, are the best state for business and have NO INCOME TAX. THeir legislators actually have to work for a living and pay taxes, so they are not lazy hinds dreaming up new ways to seize and waste the people's money.

Oh yes, we should note that Texas is the LARGEST state in land area in the continental US, has the most diverse economy and climate--and is adding population. Texans must be far far smarter than New Yorkers, since so many NY'ers think they need to be slaves of govt and be told what to do. We are losing jobs and productive people year after year. CUT the dictators, money wasters in Albany.

I doubt there would be a single New Yorker who would not agree that we need fewer laws and less cost. But I also do not believe that the business of NY State is something so trivial that it could be accomplished in one month out of the year in Albany and no time whatsoever spent within one’s own district.

In any case, the issue here is not what people want to hear right before an election. It is about what Katz has done with his time in Albany. He states, at every possible occasion, how “Republicans” are powerless in a democratic controlled assembly, and how ineffective the whole process is. If this is so, why then even bother to go back to Albany Mr. Katz? By your own words, your time there will be spent being totally ineffective, so why not start saving our citizen’s money by staying home and foregoing your salary, staff, and offices?

Interestingly enough, at the July 12th, Putnam County Chamber of Commerce candidate meet and greet event, which I attended and presented at, I was stunned to hear Mr. Katz speak of an important bill for a SUNY cyber research center, of how he missed the vote because “nature called” and how his republican colleagues did nothing to help him and said nothing about it. Please feel free to watch the video recorded by the chamber of commerce volunteers and hear for yourself.
I was not sure exactly what he was trying to say, but what was clearly understood by everyone in the audience was that he surely does not have a good relationship even with his fellow republicans.

With regard to “Home Rule” bills, is it conscionable to think that the needs of, say, Putnam County are the same as the needs of Lewis County where the deer population outnumbers the citizens? The needs of our district are surely quite different than other districts throughout NY and you certainly can’t have a “one size fits all” type of approach to legislation. After all, until we change the rules of the Assembly, how else are the needs of each county supposed to be addressed?

In summary, simply being against Albany’s insanity is not good enough. Having the ability to move and motivate others to do the right thing is what needs to be done. And given my opponent’s dismal attendance and voting record, what voters should be asking themselves is; does this man have the leadership abilities it takes to work with others, to present and illustrate a point, and to diligently operate to our benefit?

I think not.

Like any other inherent quality, leadership is either something you have or something you do not. And my opponent, however well intentioned as he may be, should sit back and let me take the interests of our district and our State to the forefront of Albany’s Assembly.

Dario Gristina.