Ortt, Republican state senators propose ‘Reset, Reopen’ plan for upstate, WNY

Posted 5 May 2020 at 11:41 am

Press release, State Senator Rob Ortt

State Senator Rob Ortt (R,C,I,Ref-North Tonawanda) joined Republican colleagues, State Senate Deputy Minority Leader Joseph A. Griffo, Sen. Rich Funke, Sen. Tom O’Mara, Sen. George M. Borrello, Sen. Pat Gallivan, Sen. Daphne Jordan, Sen. Pam Helming, and Sen. Fred Akshar to roll out an economic “Reset, Reopen” Plan for Upstate and Western New York to coincide with the virus’s regression. The policy consists of four distinct elements:

  • Reopen businesses in a safe and pragmatic fashion.
  • Reduce government control over businesses.
  • Reform government to help businesses and taxpayers.
  • Revitalize our economy and local communities.

Ortt challenged policymakers to go beyond simply returning to work, even as he noted the importance of reopening certain segments of the economy.

Sen. Rob Ortt said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed incalculable costs upon our country – the financial toll surpassed only by the human toll. As we put the pieces back together, it is incumbent upon elected officials to address the short-term and long-term challenges we face. In this great challenge, we have the unique opportunity to rethink, retool, and reboot our economy. While others talk about “un-pausing,” I’m talking about resetting. We didn’t pause the economy, we unplugged it. And just as we have assumed a war footing to combat the virus, we will need to assume the same stance in order to resuscitate and rebuild our economy.

Over the last week, Gov. Cuomo has been receptive to reopening along regional lines, stepping away from the one-size-fits approach of earlier in the pandemic. The Governor heeded calls from Senate and Assembly legislators who have called for a regional approach to reopening with individual assessments of specific regions COVID-19 cases, and for businesses to reopen while accounting for the economic viability and potential risk of infection.

State Senate Deputy Minority Leader Joseph A. Griffo said, “The vast toll of the coronavirus pandemic has led to untold pain, suffering and uncertainty for New York residents and businesses. As we begin the shift toward planning and implementing a safe economic reopening, we must do so by observing CDC guidance, eliminating the inconsistencies of the state administration’s executive orders and allowing for a safe but practical reopening plan for Upstate New York.”

The Senators called for New York State to align the businesses on Empire State Development’s essential list with that of the Federal government’s essential businesses list. By aligning, operations such as construction, sportsmen stores, manufacturing, and other low-risk occupations would be allowed to re-open. This will allow limited New York residents to safely return to work – helping workers, small businesses, and a state unemployment system stretched to its financial and functional limits. The CDC’s “Opening Up America Again” Plan offers strict guidance for governors and legislators across the U.S. to utilize for the re-opening of the economy in phases as public health milestones are met.

The Senators announced that they will follow up on the initial phase to lay out additional elements of his Re-open and Reset Plan pertaining to reduce, reform, and revitalize in the coming weeks.

Sen. Rich Funke said, “New York State is not only New York City and it is time we stopped governing like it is.  We should begin to reopen our economy regionally using the prudent, phased approach recommended by the Federal Government. Upstate infection rates are much lower and our economy is much more fragile as evidenced by yet another report out today that shows 53 counties – mostly upstate lost population in the last year. It’s time we better balanced our focus on the disease with our focus on the economy. It’s time to begin to reopen upstate.”

Return to top