Senator Ritchie reflects on 2013 legislative season

by Andrew Henderson 

The New York State 2013 legislative season is now in the books.

Senator Patty Ritchie recently offered some highlights of the legislation that was approved this season.

“As state senator, my top priority has been making Central and Northern New York a better place to live and work, and this year’s session continues our progress,” she said. “With the adoption of a middle class-friendly state budget, we once again held the line on state spending, and provided urgently needed tax relief for the middle class.”

The senator also noted that the state continued to invest in jobs by approving a third round of Regional Economic Development grants.

“We increased our commitment to public education with the largest school aid package in four years, one that was weighted to rural and upstate schools and provides $25 million more than last year in education aid to districts in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties,” she said.

Ritchie noted that agriculture was a top priority this legislative season.

“The state budget included key elements from my ‘Grown in New York’ plan, including restored funding for vital marketing and research programs from apples to dairy and maple,” she noted.

“The legislature adopted my bill to finally rein in runaway agriculture land tax assessments, and an innovative new plan to increase sales of locally grown foods, and the Senate advanced my ideas, like estate tax relief and Farm Savings Accounts, to help save family farms and encourage more young people to choose agriculture as a career,” she continued.

According to the senator, highlights of 2013 Senate session included:

• Helping New York’s middle class by maintaining middle class tax rates that are the lowest in 60 years and approving $350 Family Tax Relief rebates that will begin in 2014.

Also, there was record investment in STAR property tax relief program and the state cut electric bills by phasing out of the 2009 energy surcharge.

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