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Rensselaer County

Office of County Executive Steve McLaughlin

News Release: January 15, 2019

FOLLOWING STATE OF THE STATE, COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE McLAUGHLIN SAYS MORE ATTENTION NEEDED FOR UPSTATE ISSUES

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin offered reaction to the 2019 State of the State address delivered today by Governor Cuomo, noting the speech did not deal with many issues facing upstate residents and taxpayers.

“Many of the needs of upstate, including infrastructure repair, mandate relief and a comprehensive approach to the opioid crisis, remained largely unaddressed or short on specifics in the speech,” said McLaughlin.

“Our hope is that during the new legislative session, state lawmakers and the Governor give as much attention to upstate as they already have to downstate and New York City,” added McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said he was concerned about new tolls mentioned in the speech, changes to education funding that could shortchange upstate districts, and fees that could impact small businesses and consumers.

“I am disappointed there was no mention of agriculture in the speech, and the door was opened for upstate taxpayers to also become burdened with new costs for services like the MTA. I am equally worried the budget gap mentioned by the Governor will be passed on to taxpayers in new fees and mandates,” said McLaughlin.

“We have great momentum in Rensselaer County, with job growth happening in several key areas, a 2019 budget that does not raise taxes and a recent bond rating upgrade. We want to see the state fix its problems at the state level, and not defer costs to the local level,” added McLaughlin.

Along with the speech, McLaughlin said he was concerned costs associated with a series of election changes approved by state lawmakers this week after a short review. The new election proposals could cost Rensselaer County and its localities over $250,000.

“We certainly support reasonable initiatives to encourage participation by voters, but these costs are new and passed down suddenly after we passed our 2019 budget. It is unfair for the state to adopt these changes without providing assistance to counties,” said McLaughlin.

The speech did recognize impact of tourism on New York State in the amount of $100 billion annually, which corresponds with plans in Rensselaer County to expand tourism efforts.

For more information regarding this press release, call County Director of Operations Richard Crist, 518-270-2955 or 518-928-1920.