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Residents and government need to work together to advance a long-term vision now for how planning, zoning and natural resources in our area will be handled. Doing that protects people’s quality of life, grows the local economy and maintains home values for everyone in our area. Tom Basile has proposed a Regional Sustainability Initiative that will help our towns and villages continue to grow, but updating zoning and planning codes, comprehensive plans, aquifer protection programs, local architectural standards and other elements of a long-term vision can come with significant costs. Tom's plan will help local municipalities afford to engage in this important process and work together to achieve goals that enhance our communities for the benefit of everyone.
The highlights of Tom’s RSI include:
Grant funding for local master plan development, aquifer protection plans, and architectural standards Creating a local grant program for historic downtowns and business district revitalization Regional funding for water and sewer system upgrades Increasing funds for local parks, land preservation and view-shed protection Read Tom Basile's full plan here.
CREATING LOCAL JOBS
People can’t make it in our area, unless they have steady work. New York has the 49th worst economic climate in the nation because of high taxes, spending we can’t afford and regulations that kill jobs. Tom’s approach is simple - vote for policies that increase opportunities for living wage jobs in our area. Wages aren’t keeping pace with the cost of living, and the number of people working two jobs or only part-time has increased. As our Senator, Tom Basile will work to increase permanent, full-time, good-paying jobs in our area.
Tom will also fight Albany’s current unfair economic development strategy, which prioritizes special favors for politically-connected companies and leaves out small businesses on Main Streets in Cornwall, Washingtonville, Highland Falls and other places in our area. We give billions in tax breaks and incentives to big corporations and Hollywood producers while our small- and mid-sized businesses struggle to keep their doors open. Tom Basile wants to make it easier for local governments to provide property tax incentives for businesses willing to invest in our communities.
Reducing Property Taxes
Tom Basile grew up in a house where people lost sleep over whether they could afford to pay the property taxes. It’s only gotten worse. Our property taxes are ridiculous. They’re a prime reason why Orange, Rockland and Ulster county residence face an affordability crisis. As a Town Councilman, Tom Basile works within the property tax cap, but Albany hasn’t done its part. As our Senator, Tom will fight for mandate relief for local governments and school districts that will give property taxpayers meaningful savings. Tom also wants to get Medicaid off the backs of county governments and property taxpayers, and fight for reforms that will help better meet the needs of our population at lower cost.
Tom's multi-pronged approach would address the local, county and school tax burden by:
- Eliminating school taxes for seniors;
- Making the property tax cap permanent;
- Requiring State government to fully fund any mandates on local government; and
- Returning the local share of Medicaid to the State with a dollar-for-dollar property tax reduction.
Cutting Wasteful Spending
Tom Basile doesn’t want to get on a plane to see his kids. Neither do you. Albany’s spending is reckless and some just want more of your money - a lot more. As our Senator, Tom will fight to cut waste, fraud and abuse and force Albany to cap spending. Career politicians think it’s ok to spend $300 million on television commercials, $200 million for twinkle lights on bridges timed to music and increase the state budget by billions every year. Tom won’t just say he’ll fight for taxpayers. He’ll actually do it.
Making Child Care More Affordable
As a father of three Tom Basile knows how hard it is to afford child care, especially for working families struggling with high taxes and costs in our area. For so many of our families, both parents must work to afford even basic expenses. That's why he will author legislation that will help families better afford child care expenses. People aren’t looking for hand-outs. They need help – and it’s the right thing to do.
Tom's plan would increase the eligible child care expenses to $10,000 for one child annually and $20,000 for two or more children. His plan would provide a maximum cut of $5,000 off a family's NYS income tax return. That's real money and real relief for our families. Tom would pay for it with the $420 million in our money currently given to Hollywood producers every year. Hollywood doesn't need the cash. Hudson Valley families do.
Tom Basile is the only candidate who has announced a plan to ensure sustainable development in our area. He supports a state takeover of the Lake Anne Country Club property and connecting it to the existing State Park. He has proposed a dedicated fund to help towns and villages update their zoning, master plans, architectural standards and improve code enforcement. While Tom's opponent has been actively making deals and voting in Albany to support the expansion of K.J., Tom has not met with leaders from the community and is not courting their support. Tom Basile believes that everyone needs to play by the same set of rules and won't cut deals like Mr. Skoufis for bloc votes. Anyone who says otherwise about Tom is lying.
More Local Control in Education
Tom Basile believes that we can be pro-parent and pro-teacher. With an increase in innovation in the classroom we can produce results that better prepare students for both college and the workplace. Tom will fight to have education policy made by parents and teachers, not politicians in Albany or Washington. He knows the challenges faced by students in Newburgh are different than those of Plattekill, Haverstraw or Monroe Albany’s interference in local schools hasn’t improved education and it needs to give way to more choice and local control.
Tom believes our education discussion must move beyond just throwing money at schools toward proven solutions capable of increasing quality and lowering costs. Education in our state is the most expensive in the nation. Administrators are saddled with onerous mandates from the state. Tom will fight to allow curriculum, standards, testing and teacher evaluations be tailored toward the unique needs of local communities. He also believes it’s time to give both parents and teachers more freedom. He favors choice in education and passage of the Education Tax Credit to help students find the best educational setting for them. Our teachers also need to be supported and respected, so Tom will work to end the Last-in-First-Out policy.
As the father of three young children, Tom Basile understands how worried parents can be about school safety today. He believes that, working together with local law enforcement, armed, part-time police officers can be placed in every school that wants them – and state government can foot the bill by eliminating billions wasted on pet projects and mismanagement. Part-time officers hired from among our retired military and law enforcement personnel would not require costly benefits and would be an economical way to help keep our kids safe. Tom will also work aggressively to get Albany leaders to release the funds approved by voters for the Smart Schools Bond Act. This funding was committed years ago to help improve communication and harden school buildings, yet many districts still have not received the resources necessary to help train school staff to handle life-threatening emergencies.
Fixing Our Local Roads
Sick of crumbling streets? Tom Basile will lead the charge to bring more money back from Albany to help towns, villages and counties pave roads, rebuild water, sewer and other critical infrastructure. He’ll make sure communities in Orange, Rockland and Ulster Counties never take a back seat to New York City. Since crumbling roads and bridges also impact home values, public safety and our economy, Tom will fight for streamlined access to funding that will create jobs while improving our roads faster and cheaper.
Tom's plan would increase local CHIPs funding to $1 billion annually for towns, villages and counties across the state using existing gas tax revenue that is presently raided by the state's general fund. Most of our gas tax revenue never makes it to us to help create jobs, and lower costs for our local municipalities.
Debt Relief for North Rockland
Tom Basile, together with Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan have announced a plan to create a new fund in state law to address the massive debt held by the North Rockland School District and underlying towns due to a more than $200 million tax certiorari judgement and loss of revenue from local power plant closures. Information about the fund, which would also address this pressing state-wide problem can be found here: https://www.tom4ny.com/news/basile-call-for-a-meaningful-real-property-tax-relief-mitigation-fund.
Lowering Energy Costs
Tom believes our state’s energy policy is a disaster. We don’t need a policy that’s a political statement. We need a policy that respects the people who pay the bills. We pay some of the highest energy costs in the country. We close power plants, then import power from Canada. Tom knows that that solar and wind can’t power New York alone. Transitioning and modernizing our electricity capacity with lower emissions alternatives is important but replacing current systems cannot be done on the back of ratepayers who cannot afford higher prices. A spike in electricity costs impacts the cost of everything we buy and do. As our Senator, Tom Basile will work for a comprehensive, realistic energy policy that creates good-paying jobs locally and adds capacity for the future.
Fighting Opioid Addiction
Too many people in our area have been touched by the epidemic of opioid addiction. As our Senator, Tom Basile will support "Laree's Law," which would empower local District Attorneys to charge drug dealers with murder if the drugs they sell result in an overdose. Dealers are preying on our society and mixing their drugs with all kinds of illegal substances to increase potency. This bill holds them accountable for the harm they are bringing upon others, without destroying the current good Samaritan law that is on the books.
As our Senator, Tom Basile will be a partner to caregivers and law enforcement to help save lives. Tom believes government, the healthcare community and the non-profit sector must work together to come up with a holistic approach to prevention, treatment and recovery. That strategy must be developed from the bottom up, with the people who are working to deal with addiction in our communities driving it and included greater access to medically-assisted treatment facilities.
Protecting our Environment
Tom Basile started his career in our State Parks system and went on to serve at the EPA. He drives a plug-in hybrid and composts with his family. Tom believes our natural environment is one of the things that makes our area a wonderful place to live. He also knows that we can protect human health and the natural environment while creating a more vibrant economy. State assistance in response to water contamination in Newburgh and other environmental challenges across our area must be more immediate to protect human health.
Tom feels we need to provide better incentives for individuals and businesses to be cleaner and more efficient. That’s why he supports tax credits and rebates for the installation of energy and water efficient systems, green building methods, solar power, electric and hybrid vehicles and other sustainable practices that are components to improving air quality and reducing emissions. Tom believes New York can be an incubator for new technologies that can create a cleaner environment - without adding billions to the tax burden and driving more jobs out of state.
We don’t just need ethics reform. Tom Basile wants to make real political reform to change the way Albany works. That means term limits and greater transparency. The problem of government corruption is connected to both money in politics and a growing disconnect between people and officials. Tom Basile supports opening up the political process to new people and new ideas by establishing term limits for all state-wide elected officials and state legislators. He opposes taxpayer-funded political campaigns. He believes the State Legislature should be made subject to the Freedom of Information Law and massive spending through public authorities like Empire State Development must also be fully transparent. Tom also wants to end the disenfranchisement of millions of New Yorkers by curbing the power of partisan leaders in the legislature that enables them to single-handedly kill bills that go against the wishes of donors and special interest groups.
A member of SCOPE, NYSRPA, the NRA, and the Black Rock Fish and Game Club, Tom Basile is a supporter of our law-abiding gun owners continuing to have full access to their Constitutional rights. New York has hundreds of gun laws on the books already and some in Albany have a stack more to pass. Tom wants to see us enforce the laws we have on the books and stop treating law-abiding gun owners like criminals. Tom also believes that local District Attorneys should have only a limited ability to plead down gun charges. He is opposed to the SAFE Act and is in favor of a full repeal of this politically motivated, flawed, unconstitutional legislation. Tom will never have to ask a party boss’ permission to defend the Second Amendment.
Programs that provide a wide range of healthcare services for women often require government support. While Tom Basile does not support taxpayer-funded abortion procedures, he will support funding for other women’s health services like critically important cancer screening centers. Tom will sponsor legislation to create a New York State income tax deduction to encourage private donors to provide voluntary financial assistance to non-profit healthcare centers.
Making Healthcare Affordable for Everyone
Tom Basile believes that quality healthcare shouldn’t be a privilege. But some people think that government-run healthcare would be better or cheaper. They’re wrong. One-size-fits-all solutions that offer less choice for patients don’t work. We need to ensure healthcare options exist for people at all income levels including expanding non-profit models like Cornerstone Family Healthcare, as well as integrated medical practices, and world class primary care facilities like St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital.
New York should be known for top-quality medical care - not just the best place to sue a physician. New York trains some of the best doctors in the world but they often leave for other states due to the high insurance costs. When we lose good doctors everyone suffers. Tom Basile will work to ensure we have reasonable limits on malpractice claims, so we can keep quality high for everyone. Tom will also work to ensure we finally reduce frivolous lawsuits.
EXPANDED RIGHT TO COUNSEL IN CIVIL CASES
If you’re a mother involved in a landlord-tenant dispute or need an order of protection against an abuser, you need an attorney to help handle your case. Right now, people are left with the untenable position of representing themselves in court which places any plaintiff at a significant disadvantage, going into debt to hire an attorney or hoping to obtain pro bono legal services through often understaffed agencies. Tom Basile has pledged to introduce a bill to expand the right to civil counsel to ensure effective representation for low income residents involved in housing, veterans’ benefits, and domestic violence matters among others. He has also called for a sharp increase in funding for non-profit organizations that aid low-income plaintiffs such as Legal Services of the Hudson Valley in our area have a proven track record and provide a significant return on the investment.
APPRENTICESHIP AND VOCATIONAL TRAINING TAX CREDIT
Tom Basile grew up in a union household, the son of an IBEW member. He knows we need more young people, veterans and those transitioning careers to have access to a practical skills education that will increase opportunity. Tom believes in incentivizing the creation and expansion of training programs will get more people the qualifications they need to find work and build a career that provides a living wage, here locally. To do this, Tom has announced he will introduce legislation, tentatively named the New York Labor Apprenticeship Act , that would create a dollar-for-dollar state income or business tax credit up to a certain threshold for direct contributions to apprenticeship, vocational training, or continuing skills education programs for unions that require such programs. The credit would also be used to boost cooperatives for practical skills training between trade or industry groups and public or private schools.