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Thursday, January 14, 2016
By +Scott Leffler 
scott.leffler@eastniagarapost.com


Special interest groups each have their own take on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address and budget announcement released Wednesday in Albany.

Unshackle Upstate, a fiscally conservative organization supporting upstate taxpayers and business, released a statement from its executive director Greg Biryla. Common Cause/NY, a non-partisan organization working towards more open government released a statement from its executive director, Susan Lerner. And the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network released a statement from its government relations director, Julie Hart.

The statements from the three organizations all follow in their entirety, unedited.
We applaud Governor Cuomo for advancing a budget proposal that adheres to a self-imposed 2-percent spending cap. We’re also encouraged by the Governor’s commitment to make significant investments in our crumbling infrastructure. It’s no secret that Upstate communities have struggled to maintain the roads, bridges and water infrastructure – this investment will provide much-needed funds to address this problem.
 There were several proposals with which we strongly disagree. First and foremost, our organization believes that a $15 minimum wage will do more harm than good - especially for Upstate small businesses, farms, taxpayers and consumers. Increasing the minimum wage by an unprecedented 67 percent will lead to the loss of at least 200,000 jobs across the state, tax increases and a higher cost of living. That’s simply unaffordable and unacceptable. We also have serious concerns about the impact of a paid leave mandate on Upstate employers.

As the leading voice for Upstate taxpayers, we remain opposed to any system that uses public dollars to support political campaigns. Such a system simply creates more opportunity for corruption and wastes public funds that would be better spent on tax relief and infrastructure investment.

As budget negotiations continue, we will continue to advocate on behalf of Upstate businesses and taxpayers.

-- Greg Biryla, Unshackle Upstate executive director
The Governor's rhetoric is a rebuke to the systematic corruption that now defines New York State politics. Two juries have made clear that the Albany status quo is not only unacceptable, it's criminal. We need a robust commitment to comprehensive reform, which at the minimum includes the Clean Conscience pledge to limit/ban outside income, close the LLC loophole, and increase transparency in discretionary funding. Two out of three is not enough. We will not allow ethics reform to be buried. Talk is cheap, New Yorkers expect results. It's time to get to work."

-- Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY.
It is the goal of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) to make cancer a priority of our government leaders. ACS CAN applauds Governor Cuomo for taking this bold step that will help women in their fight against breast cancer.  Early detection of cancer means lives will be saved. By making the fight against cancer a priority, children will get to spend more time with their parents, parents will be able to watch their children grow, and grandparents will have more time to spend with their grandkids.

We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the state legislature to help reach all women and men and to make life saving cancer screenings available to them.

-- Julie Hart, New York government relations director with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network 
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