State Sen. David Valesky answers your questions about the state budget
11:52
syracuse.com: 
Thanks for joining our live Q&A with Sen. David Valesky. We'll be starting at noon, but you can begin leaving questions now.
Friday February 7, 2014 11:52 syracuse.com
12:01
syracuse.com: 

Welcome to our live Q&A with Sen. David Valesky. He will be here for an hour to answer questions.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:01 syracuse.com
12:01
David Valesky: 
Hello everyone! I look forward to answering as many questions as time will allow over the next hour on the state budget proposal and any other issues that may come before the State Legislature.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:01 David Valesky
12:01
[Comment From Teri WeaverTeri Weaver: ] 
Are you running for re-election?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:01 Teri Weaver
12:05
David Valesky: 
Teri,
I am looking forward to running for re-election later this year. However, there is a great deal of work to be done prior to that, and I will continue to work to retain and create jobs, lower our tax burden, and ensure that children have an opportunity to receive a high quality education.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:05 David Valesky
12:06
[Comment From tonyytonyy: ] 
I will be at work, please ask him why he sold us out and voted for the NYsafe act. Then question number two should be what does he plan to do for a living after the next election.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:06 tonyy
12:10
David Valesky: 
Tonyy,

As I indicated last year after passage of the NY SAFE Act, I voted in favor of the proposal as a result of provisions that were included regarding mental health reporting requirements, life without parole for those convicted of murdering a first responder, and increased funding for school security measures.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:10 David Valesky
12:10
[Comment From Richard from LiverpoolRichard from Liverpool: ] 
Senator will we finally get to use a crossbow this hunting season?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:10 Richard from Liverpool
12:12
David Valesky: 
Richard,
As you may recall, I was the sponsor of the original crossbow legislation a couple of years ago. While the law has expired, I was pleased that Governor Cuomo included a crossbow legalization provision in his budget proposal and am optimistic that crossbows will be reauthorized moving forward.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:12 David Valesky
12:12
[Comment From Teri WeaverTeri Weaver: ] 
What do you think of the news about the Destiny USA hotel?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:12 Teri Weaver
12:14
David Valesky: 
Teri,

I am excited about the continued development at Destiny. I believe a hotel there will build upon the successful efforts to attract others from outside Central New York to the facility and our entire region.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:14 David Valesky
12:14
[Comment From KyleKyle: ] 
Senator, what are some of your priorities in this year's state budget?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:14 Kyle
12:18
David Valesky: 
Kyle

As we are reviewing the Governor's budget proposal, I am focusing on his job retention and creation ideas, including tax relief and economic development initiatives. In addition, it is critical that we achieve an equitable distribution of school aid, as well as focus on critical infrastruture needs in Syracuse and elsewhere.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:18 David Valesky
12:18
[Comment From Michelle BreidenbachMichelle Breidenbach: ] 
What are your thoughts on the possibility of a new Syracuse sports stadium?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:18 Michelle Breidenbach
12:20
David Valesky: 
Michelle,

As you may know, Mayor Miner has named me to her task force that will examine the many questions she correctly raised recently. I look forward to participating in that process to determine the best course of action regarding any new sports arena.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:20 David Valesky
12:21
[Comment From Richard from LiverpoolRichard from Liverpool: ] 
Senator what are your thoughts on the land acquisitions in the Blue Line or better known as the Adirondack park
Friday February 7, 2014 12:21 Richard from Liverpool
12:23
David Valesky: 
Richard,

I commend Governor Cuomo for the recent land acquisition in the Adirondack Park, as the Finch-Pruyn property will be opened for public access. The Adirondacks are a jewel for all New Yorkers.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:23 David Valesky
12:24
[Comment From Robert M.Robert M.: ] 
My mother falls outside the cutoff of EPIC by $3,000. Anything that can be done about that?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:24 Robert M.
12:26
David Valesky: 
Robert M.,

The Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program, or EPIC, has been critically important to thousands of New York seniors in helping with prescription drug costs. The income eligibility thresholds have not been raised in many years, and I am proposing increasing those limits so that many more seniors can take advantage of this program.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:26 David Valesky
12:27
[Comment From Renee VogelsangRenee Vogelsang: ] 
Senator, Thousands of your constituents in the Central New York region support a statewide ban on fracking. The city of Syracuse has banned fracking and most recently Onondaga County has banned fracking waste. A recent Duke University study showed a link between pregnant women living near gas wells and birth defects in babies. Will you stand up for public health and publicly support a statewide ban on fracking in New York?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:27 Renee Vogelsang
12:29
David Valesky: 
Renee,

As we await the results of the Health Department study on hydraulic fracturing, I want to reiterate my support for a ban on fracking.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:29 David Valesky
12:29
[Comment From CaitlinCaitlin: ] 
Senator does the budget do anything to help those who were devastated by last summers flooding
Friday February 7, 2014 12:29 Caitlin
12:32
David Valesky: 
Caitlin,

The Senate has taken up a legislative package I sponsored this session that will address the flooding issues in our area from last summer. The bills include a property tax assessment reduction for property owners who experienced damage, and a task force that would be established so that we can be better prepared for future flooding events.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:32 David Valesky
12:32
[Comment From KristinKristin: ] 
What steps are you prepared to take to improve school aid and reduce educational cuts? What are your views on the Common Core and how to improve it or remove it moving forward?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:32 Kristin
12:35
David Valesky: 
Kristin,

While I support the Common Core standards, I believe the rollout of those standards has been seriously flawed. As such, I support the call from legislative leaders in both houses to consider a moratorium on the use of testing results until the process can be improved. In regard to school aid, I am hopeful we can improve upon the Governor's school aid proposal to create greater equity and fairness for schools.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:35 David Valesky
12:36
[Comment From ChandlerChandler: ] 
Senator I am a big Jon Bones Jones fan and want to watch him fight here in Syracuse in the new stadium we are going to build! Will the state finally legalize MMA?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:36 Chandler
12:38
David Valesky: 
Chandler,

The Senate has repeatedly in recent years voted to legalize mixed martial arts, with my support each time. MMA has yet to receive final legislative approval, however. You may be interested to know that there are renewed efforts to gain legislative approval in both houses this year.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:38 David Valesky
12:39
[Comment From Bob Andrews EastwoodBob Andrews Eastwood: ] 
Instead of sneidng rebate checks and annual STAR Exemptions to property tax, Why not just give those reductions permantly to taxpayers and reduce the administrative and financial burden?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:39 Bob Andrews Eastwood
12:41
David Valesky: 
Bob,

I agree that we must focus on long term solutions to our property tax burden, and do believe that government consolidation is one of the most important ways we can achieve property tax relief beyond the examples you cite.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:41 David Valesky
12:41
[Comment From Steve C.Steve C.: ] 
Senator Valesky, how do you justify your support for public financing of political campaigns when there are so many other things that would be a better use of taxpayer dollars? (tax relief, road and bridge repair, etc.)
Friday February 7, 2014 12:41 Steve C.
12:43
David Valesky: 
Steve,

I understand your concerns regarding public financing of elections. The measure I support, however, would be funded by a voluntary income tax checkoff and other sources that do not come from the state's general fund and therefore would not take resources away from road and bridge repairs, schools, etc.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:43 David Valesky
12:44
[Comment From Teri WeaverTeri Weaver: ] 
What do you think of the NY Department of Transportation's handling, thus far, of the future of I-81?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:44 Teri Weaver
12:48
David Valesky: 
Teri,

I do believe the DOT has been providing ample opportunity for the public to weigh in on this significant issue...however, I think it is critical that we receive traffic analysis and other impacts that each of the proposals would incur as soon as possible.

Friday February 7, 2014 12:48 David Valesky
12:49
[Comment From Bob Andrews EastwoodBob Andrews Eastwood: ] 
The City of Syracuse has many infrustructure issues that have been neglected for years, in particular the Water system. Can you see a way that the State can help in paying for the capital improvements to the City of Syracuse water infrustructure? Does consolidation of help in the acquisition of funds?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:49 Bob Andrews Eastwood
12:52
David Valesky: 
Bob,

I absolutely agree with you, and Mayor Miner incidentally, that the City's water infrastructure needs must be addressed. I have raised this issue with the Governor and will continue to fight for resources that would address this topic.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:52 David Valesky
12:52
[Comment From KristinKristin: ] 
What are the details of the renter's tax credit Governor Cuomo mentioned recently?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:52 Kristin
12:55
David Valesky: 
Kristin,

The Governor has proposed as part of his tax relief package a refundable personal income tax credit for renters with incomes below $100,000. The tax proposals will be the subject of Monday's budget hearing, so we expect more details at that time.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:55 David Valesky
12:56
[Comment From Stanley MaziukStanley Maziuk: ] 
Dave, thanks for your participation today. The Ammo Check provision of the SAFE Act not only penalizes law abiding users of bullets, but is also turning out to be a bureaucratic nightmare that will be expensive and onerous to implement. Even if you like certain provisions of the SAFE Act, will you declare your opposition to the Ammo Check provision, and work to get it repealed?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:56 Stanley Maziuk
12:59
David Valesky: 
Stanley,

As you may be aware, the State Police Superintendent at the recent budget hearing testified that they are not prepared to implement the ammo check provision of the SAFE Act, and there was no deadline specified in this portion of the law.
Friday February 7, 2014 12:59 David Valesky
12:59
[Comment From RonanRonan: ] 
If you were an m and m, what color would you be?
Friday February 7, 2014 12:59 Ronan
1:00
David Valesky: 
Ronan,

An m and m? I suppose I would be Orange...go SU!!!
Friday February 7, 2014 1:00 David Valesky
1:00
syracuse.com: 
That's all we have time for, folks.
Friday February 7, 2014 1:00 syracuse.com
1:02
David Valesky: 
Thank you for your questions today. I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss some of the major issues of the day. And just a public health reminder...with another death resulting from the flu, don't forget to get a flu shot if you haven't done so already!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Friday February 7, 2014 1:02 David Valesky
1:02
syracuse.com: 
Thank you for your time, Sen. Valesky, and thank you, readers, for joining us and posting such great questions.
Friday February 7, 2014 1:02 syracuse.com
 
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