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February 2014 Column - Politics in government forces significant, unnecessary divides


It is difficult some days to remember there is still good in this world. However, we don’t have to look further than our own small communities to be reminded there are many people working hard each and every...

Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo has released a statement following the County Executive’s announcement he has approved the local Concussion Law

Last week, as chair of the Legislature’s Finance and Management Committee, I hosted two days of informational hearings with each county office and department. The required Mid-Year Budget Hearings are...

Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo responds to the County Executive taking credit for the 2015 surplus.

A few weeks ago, I spoke at a rally in support of bringing ridesharing to Upstate New York. Having companies such as Uber or Lyft won’t just be positive for the City of Buffalo, but also the suburbs and rural...

Last month, Gov. Cuomo made public remarks that “extreme conservatives have no place in the State of New York.” While the comments were off-the-cuff, and taken slightly out of context, they upset a large number of people. He must realize that his comments were offensive and divisive, and should have no role in state government.

All too often, the public sees the arguing and divisive nature of government and politics. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. There will always be philosophical differences with regard to many issues, but labeling people who disagree with you as “extremists” does nothing but further the divide. Instead of pushing people away with petty name calling, members of government — at all levels — should be looking for ways to work together and find common ground.

New York State has been suffering for the past several years. Businesses find it increasingly difficult to operate, and families move away because they have trouble finding work and keeping up with increasingly higher taxes. The solution will come from having a common-sense dialogue from people on both sides of the issues, not through bickering and infighting.

Gov. Cuomo’s comments are especially disappointing in light of initiatives mentioned in his most recent budget proposal. After reviewing the budget, it appears there are a number of inclusions that could help bridge the gap on the left and right, and help bring many of these “extremists” together for the betterment of New York.

For example, the budget calls for 10 years of tax cuts on new or expanding businesses in New York. It also calls for a statewide tax credit of 20 percent for all New York State manufacturing businesses. These are initiatives that people on every end of the political spectrum should be able to agree on and understand.

Additionally, the governor doubled down on his investment in the “Billion Dollars for Buffalo.” There is $680 million in funding specifically set aside for new capital projects in WNY. This coupled with the previous $150 million of capital appropriations and $170 million in tax credits from the Excelsior Jobs Program, make up the “Buffalo Billion.”

Beyond economic development, the proposed budget also helps bring together both sides with regard to education. Rather than an increased focus on standardized testing and the Common Core, the governor called for more localized control in the classroom. I believe almost everyone would agree that local control is superior to state standardized education and testing. Our teachers know our children. Our teachers know how best to educate, enrich and enlighten them.

So as I said, it is time for an end to name calling and divisive politics. Despite our political differences, I believe we all strive toward the same goals: a better community, jobs for our families, and making Erie County and New York State a place where people and business want to be.


In closing, I want to announce that I will be holding District Outreach Meetings in March. The first will be from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, March 17, at the Aurora Senior Center and the second from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 21, at the West Seneca Senior Center. Stop by or you can contact my office at 858-8922