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Senator James Seward Discusses 2013 Agenda In Herkimer

Gino Geruntino, WIBX

Herkimer, NY (WIBX) – Mandate relief, providing more aid to struggling schools and promoting job growth are only a few of the goals State Senator James Seward has on his agenda this year.

Seward says mandate relief is an important economic measure for him, and something that the state has been working since signing the property tax cap in 2011. But, it needs to be expanded further than it was in 2012.

“When we did the property tax cap, it was promised to local governments and local property tax payers that we would then move on to mandate relief,” Seward said. “Now there has been some, but precious little, mandate relief and that’s why we need to go much further.”

Medicaid reform has remained a priority, with the senator implying that by overhauling the program along with pension reform, local governments and taxpayers could see more than $2.4 billion in savings during the next five years.

The recent passage of the NY Safe Act was also discussed at some length. He says the laws have placed a strain on Remington Arms in Ilion, and would like to see them tested for Constitutionality in the courts.

“It’s a great company,” Seward said. “They’re always being recruited to move. So our job is, going forward, to work with the company as I have in the past and to bring in state incentives to help them continue to grow here at their Ilion plant.”

Vincent Bono, Chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature, agrees. He says the NY Safe Act is hurting the county mainstay.

“In a day when manufacturing jobs are tough to come by, we don;t want to lose our largest employer in Herkimer County that’s a manufacturer,” Bono said. “That would cripple this county. It really would. Economically, it would just put us back a long way.”

Seward also talked about possible legislation he sponsored eliminating business taxes on manufacturers, which was passed in the State Senate but not in the Assembly. The tax relief was combined with an interest in pushing local agriculture-based businesses, such as those that create yogurt and beer.

Finally, Seward says he is hoping to provide more aid to upstate schools, especially those facing cuts to possible core programs. By continuing to redistribute money to higher need schools, students will continue to receive high-quality education without problems.

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