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By Lacey Gardner

WNY Republican leaders react to Governor Hochul’s “State of the State”


Read George Borrello of the 57th and Tom O’Mara of the 58th statements


Albany, N.Y., January 9-—State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) today responded to Governor Kathy Hochul’s third State of the State message to the Legislature by once again warning that the state’s Democrat leaders are continuing to prioritize long-term commitments for higher state spending that will be unaffordable and unsustainable for taxpayers.

He said that New York is currently facing multi-year, multi-billion-dollar state budget deficits, including a budget gap this year projected to be more than $4 billion.

O’Mara cautioned that the direction Hochul and legislative leaders are focusing on for the future of New York is pointing to even harder times ahead for state and local taxpayers, small businesses and manufacturers, and already hard-pressed upstate communities, economies, and workers.

O’Mara said, “New York State is not stronger, safer, or more affordable under Governor Hochul and the Albany Democrats, and there’s no turnaround in sight. Governor Hochul highlighted the affordability crisis we face in New York State but she’s putting forth a broad agenda that will only keep making New York a more expensive state in which to live, work, do business, raise a family, and pay taxes. There’s no let-up for the middle class under all-Democrat, one-party control of New York government. Albany Democrats ignore the middle class in favor of a politically driven, hard-left roadmap continuing to mandate huge state spending handouts that keep wiping out any realistic hope for a long-term, sustainable, thriving future for upstate, middle-class communities, economies, families, workers, and taxpayers.”

O’Mara stressed that he looks forward to joining his Senate Republican colleagues throughout the new legislative session to put forth strategies to ensure that upstate regions don’t get left behind. He said that the GOP will continue to fight for a range of policies focusing on public safety and security, economic growth and job creation, tax relief and regulatory reform, and affordability initiatives to try to reverse New York’s nation-leading population loss.

O’Mara added that he would also work with his legislative colleagues across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions to keep attention focused on unfunded state mandates, job-killing state regulations, and a state and local tax burden that hurts family budgets and keeps New York’s business climate one of the worst in America for small businesses and manufacturers.

Hochul is scheduled to unveil her 2024-2025 proposed state budget next Tuesday after which O’Mara, the Ranking Member on the Senate Finance Committee, and legislative colleagues will begin conducting public hearings on the governor’s plan.


“Anyone hoping that Governor Hochul’s State of the State message would chart a bold plan for turning around New York State’s affordability and public safety crises has been left disappointed in today’s address.

The worst-in-the-nation outmigration of our residents is a problem that threatens our future. It requires more than new affordable housing units, as the governor suggests. New York State’s combined state and local tax rates are the highest in the nation. Numerous polls have found that this crushing tax burden is the primary reason people are leaving New York. We heard no plans to tackle that issue.

New Yorkers also cite declining public safety as their other top concern. While the governor praised a recent decrease in gun violence, the truth is that crime rates are still significantly higher now than they were before the reckless bail changes took effect. In New York City alone, index crimes are a staggering 33 percent higher now than in 2019. Proposals to combat retail theft, domestic violence and hate crimes are a step forward, but the leftists in the legislature will fight these proposals. Tough talk won’t be enough. She will need to muster the political will to fight and win these battles.

New York’s business community was overlooked in this address. Rather than investing precious resources trying to market our state as an A.I. hub, we should be taking steps to support and boost our longstanding employers in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors who have been hurt by careless mandates and heavy taxes. Small businesses are still struggling under the weight of the unemployment insurance debt that the state unfairly placed on them. These New York State born-and-bred businesses were ignored.

The most glaring omission was any plan for dealing with Democrats’ self-created migrant crisis, which is draining billions of taxpayer dollars and shows no signs of slowing down. Simply throwing more money at this problem isn’t an answer.

The mental health priorities the governor outlined are initiatives that I support. Expanding both inpatient and outpatient treatment are sorely needed changes. However, again, she will need to be willing to go to the mat with the legislature for key items in this agenda, particularly stronger inpatient treatment.

I look forward to receiving more details on these proposals in the Executive Budget. Governor Hochul was right when she said ‘we all want our state to succeed.’ However, to get there will take more than talk, it will take political courage.”  

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