Ortt faults Legislature, governor for policies making state ‘completely unaffordable’

Posted 29 June 2023 at 2:35 pm


The conclusion of the 2023 Legislative Session has clearly demonstrated – once again – that one-party control of state government is not working. New York is facing a criminal justice crisis as violence plagues our communities and a broken system continues to benefit criminals instead of crime victims and law-abiding citizens.

New York is also facing an affordability crisis — as inflation, a sagging economy, and oppressive taxes drive families, seniors, and small businesses away from our state in record numbers.

These two issues – crime and affordability – are at the top of every New Yorker’s mind.

So what did our colleagues across the aisle do to address these top two issues? Absolutely nothing.

They wasted the first few months of session engaging in self-serving partisan politics — playing fast and loose with the rules in order to pack the State’s highest court with judges that will do their bidding. Democrats then went on to pass the latest State Budget in 13 years – a reckless, fiscally irresponsible plan negotiated in complete secrecy.

Instead of making New York more affordable, this State Budget failed to address the issues discussed around kitchen tables throughout our state. Instead of strengthening our economy, they enacted new taxes that will punish hard-working New Yorkers and small businesses more than ever.

They approved a radical, first-in-the-nation ban on natural gas in new construction. This expensive, unrealistic one-size-fits-all mandate will make energy even more expensive and less reliable for millions of New Yorkers.

They once again bent over backward to enact new pro-criminal policies and failed to repeal the state’s disastrous cashless bail law. Instead of fighting to protect crime victims and make our neighborhoods safer, they passed a misguided “Clean Slate” law that will enable convicted felons to hide their criminal backgrounds.

We saw yet another example of a major leadership failure on behalf of Governor Kathy Hochul as her office tries to work out a new Casino Gaming Compact with the Seneca Nation. Toward the end of session, word came that a deal had been reached, only for her administration – and her Democratic allies in the assembly – to fail at completing the deal before session concluded.

Failing to get this deal done will cost New York State hundreds of millions of dollars, and our Western New York communities tens of millions of dollars. It’s time for Kathy Hochul to do her job as governor and get this deal done.

One of the biggest Democratic failures of all this session was their complete inability to address the massive, chaotic influx of migrants into our state in recent months. In fact, they doubled down on policies that reinforce our reputation as a “sanctuary state” by approving millions of taxpayer dollars to provide a free college education for non-US citizens and free healthcare for illegal immigrants.

They also tried to cement their one-party control of state government by making radical, unconstitutional changes to the state’s longstanding election laws, changing the dates of hundreds of local elections across the state, and holding them in years when major state and federal races are taking place. They want to reduce public awareness of key local issues and tie elections to national platforms because they know that on the everyday issues that matter to us most – they are wrong.

Unfortunately, the one-party ruling class in Albany completely failed to deliver for New Yorkers throughout the 2023 Legislative Session. The bottom line is that this year’s Legislative Session was a complete disaster for hardworking, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens of our State.

As a result, New York State will continue to be a completely unaffordable state, with sky-high taxes, a weak economy, and a badly broken criminal justice system. The people of New York deserve better than this, which is why we need to restore balance, accountability, and common sense to our state government. And we need to do it now.

Robert Ortt

State Senate Republican Leader

North Tonawanda