Guest Op-Ed: Legislature’s tasks remain plentiful in 2014

Over the past three years, my colleagues and I have worked hard to turn a $10 billion deficit into what is projected to be a $2 billion surplus in 2014. We’ve held the line on taxes by enacting the lowest middle-class income tax rate in 50 years, provided relief to residents in need after natural disasters, and worked to create a more business-friendly environment. But our work is far from complete, and our priorities remain plentiful.

This year’s budget contains several positive tax relief proposals for residents of New York. I was most pleased to hear the governor’s plan to provide tax relief for both middle-class property owners and renters. These tax relief proposals would mean more than a billion dollars in annual savings for residents across the state.

It was also refreshing finally to hear the governor acknowledge the flaws resulting from the poor implementation of Common Core. Parents, teachers and students across the state have made their voices heard, and I look forward to working with the governor to enact critical fixes I have been advocating for. They include concrete steps to increase funding for education, phase in new standards and limit the use of testing requirements and the sharing of student data.

Another particular note of interest to the people of Brooklyn is the ongoing health crisis in which so many hospitals are on the verge of closure. I was pleased to hear the governor’s desire to ensure quality health services remains intact and I look forward to working with the local residents and officials to deliver responsive health treatments.

I will also continue to advocate for more funding for transportation and serve as a strong voice for the full restoration of the B37 bus line. While we were successful in getting the MTA to agree to a restoration, merely reinstating the route to the BarclaysCenter is unacceptable. The majority of my constituents use this bus to get downtown, to the courts, Borough Hall or medical appointments, all of which would still be out of reach under the partial restoration planned.

The governor’s budget proposal wasn’t all music to my ears. I continue strongly to oppose his proposal to use taxpayer money to fund political campaigns. While the intent of the proposal is to stop corruption in state government, the truth is that public financing actually encourages corruption and, worst of all, puts taxpayers on the hook for a multi-million-dollar bill. Reaching into the pockets of cash-strapped New Yorkers for personal and political gain is shameful, and an example of government at its worst.

As the legislative session begins anew, I look forward to serving as your voice on these and other important issues. I would love to hear where you would like me to focus my attention.

Please email me at [email protected] or write to me at 7408 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209 with your concerns.

Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis represents portions of Bay Ridge and Staten Island.

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