The Rural Patriot

October 27, 2006

149th NYS Assembly Debate 10/24/06 (Part 3)

Part 1
Part 2

Seasonal workers on Western NY, and are they treated fairly?

Linda Witte:  It is one of the things to look at. It is a regional problem. If they come here to do jobs, you have to treat them fairly. You have to look at what they are doing for us. There is nothing wrong with seasonal workers coming here and being treated fairly, and this includes their children and taking care of them if they become ill.

Joe Giglio:  They are vital to our economy and farms. They are treated fairly. It is important that we protect all workers. The farmers need their help – it is an important relationship.

Immigration Policy

Warren Schmidt:  Rep. Kuhl does support a guest worker program. He is opposed to amnesty for illegals and it is important that the borders are secure. Taking workers off of farms is a result of farmers not being careful enough about documentation of the workers.

Joe Meische:  Eric Massa believes in a realistic immigration policy that does not make farmers felons; he believes in a rational policy – not a knee-jerk, irrational policy. He is for securing the border.

Reduction of state taxes

Joe Giglio:  State mandated programs – $10,000 programs to be paid by the state. We should reduce the cost of county’s (share) by 3%/year until it is at zero (Medicaid). Economic development comes when taxes are lowered.

Linda Witte:  It is not just the state taking back Medicaid costs, but also reducing fraud, waste and duplication of services. NY State has layers of bureaucracy, and that’s what you are paying for. If you eliminate the abuses, it would be a big chunk of what we pay for property taxes.

(On legislative experience) On the first budget, I voted no – it included the sales tax. Second budget was more fair. It elinimated things that were not being (used). That brought down the cost of property tax.

Do you really believe that we need to have a passport to return from Canada?

Warren Schmidt:  Personally, no. I don’t have the knowledge where Rep. Kuhl stands on this. I would believe that if such a program did exist – not a passport, but possibly an ID card. I believe he (Rep. Kuhl) support this as a reasonable thing.

Joe Meische:  I am sure what his stand is. I don’t think a passport is the issue; it needs to be done in other ways.

NY State STAR Program

Linda Witte:  Relates the story of a person who paid $47 this year, and then received a check for approximately $250. This raised the debt ceiling to issue these checks. This money needs to be paid back with interest. Its an irresponsible action from the state reps.

Joe Giglio:  This year, NY State has a #3.3 billion surplus. The democrats want to spend it. We stood up and said that you cannot spend it, you have to give it back. The timing may not have been the best (referring to checks going out prior to an election cycle).

Linda Witte:  We have a surplus in Cattaraugus County; we are going to spend it on one-time capitol projects. At the state level, they took $170 million for handouts to (small dollar) pork projects ($50,000…). The money could have been spent more wisely.

Joe Giglio:  $3.3 Billion; he proposed to take at least 5% to spend towards debt reduction, but the democrats didn’t want to do that.

Final – End of Part 3

Local coverage of the debate:  Candidates talk about agricultural issues at Farm Bureau forum in GV and Assembly candidates meet in farm forum

Article on debate from 10/25/06 – Candidates debate issues in Olean



  1. Is there going to be a write up for the Olean debate where Linda said she wanted to raise our taxes?

    Comment by Paul — October 30, 2006 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

  2. What exactly did she say? Do you have a quotation? No one from this site was present at that particular debate. The Olean Times Herald article has the following text:

    Mrs. Witte, who earlier in the debate cited her opposition to the county increasing the sales tax three years ago, suggested the state could help pay the increased cost of taking over county Medicaid costs by increasing its sales tax by half a percent.
    She said she wanted to go to Albany “to bring down taxes and eliminate wasteful spending.”

    Does your comment reflect Ms. Witte’s statement regarding the sales tax? While the two statements above sound contradictory on the surface, I can see where we could be paying less overall taxes if the state would take over the counties’ share of Medicaid costs. Did you know that New York and North Carolina are the only two states that have their counties pay into the Medicaid system? 48 other states don’t make their counties participate; why does NYS do it this way?

    Comment by theruralpatriot — October 30, 2006 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  3. The simple fact is that NYS is the only state that offers the 40 other programs that states have options to offer.

    If she wants to go to Albany “to bring down taxes” why is she saying that she wants to raise the state sales tax to 4.5%?? The two statements “sound contradictory on the surface” because they are.

    What kind of savings plan is that?

    Comment by Paul — October 30, 2006 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  4. Well, Paul, it would depend on the individual. It would amount to savings for me as I don’t buy very many items outside of necessities. I run a tight financial household. In this house, a drop in local taxes because they would not have to contribute to Medicaid costs probably amounts to a more beneficial situation vs. having the sales tax raise. After all, she is talking about a fifty cent increase on $100. I think that I can handle that.

    Also, both candidates want to cut out the fraud, waste and abuse of the system. If this effort is taken seriously by NY State, and I hope that it will, this will also bring down the overall cost of the program.

    Comment by theruralpatriot — October 30, 2006 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  5. So it’s good to raise one tax to lower another tax? Robbing Peter to pay Paul?

    I guess from an individual stand point, for you, it may seem like a beneficial program. But what about the farmers, small businesses, and families? Or the tourists that come to this area?

    We are already the highest taxes state, this just increases it.

    And I know that some have failed to see that platform that Assemblyman Giglio is running on, but the Buffalo News seems to have a grasp of it, based on their endorsement of him:

    Joseph Giglio understands the bottom line about Albany. “My belief is that Albany collects all the tax dollars it needs to, but loses a lot to inefficiency and impropriety,” observed the Republican incumbent who won a special election last year to succeed Cathy Young, now a senator.

    He is exactly right. That insight, together with his support for a comprehensive approach to fighting Medicaid fraud, workers’ compensation reform and restrictions on unfunded mandates gives the freshman legislator a strong platform for re-election. His opponent is not without her own strengths. Democrat Linda Witte is a Cattaraugus County legislator who insists she will not be a rubber stamp for anyone, including Spitzer. She favors term limits, but doubts the practical use of independent redistricting, which this page supports as a fundamental reform.

    Comment by Paul — October 31, 2006 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

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