Key Second Term Accomplishments.
1. Leading from the Front to Save Taxpayers
2. Fighting to Reform Albany: After years of being an outspoken critic of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Lalor led the call for him to step down as speaker after Democrats rallied around him following his indictment. Lalor was also the first Republican in the state to call for Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to step down after his indictment. Meanwhile, Lalor has advanced reform proposals such as term limits, reducing legislative pay and the length of the session, eliminating pork-barrel spending, ending corporate welfare schemes and reducing the ability of legislative leaders to block legislation from getting a full house vote, which would fundamentally reform Albany’s culture of corruption. See Lalor's New York Post op-ed on how to reform Albany here.
3. Focused on Community: Lalor organized and hosted community events around the 105th Assembly District, including commemorations of the 71st anniversary of D-Day and the 70th anniversary of the Iwo Jima flag raising. When members of our law enforcement community were being criticized and attacked for doing their job, Lalor organized and hosted Salute to Law Enforcement Day. He also co-hosted with East Fishkill Councilman Emanuele Marinaro, a townhall forum featuring former U.S. Senator James Buckley, to discuss reducing federal spending and increasing state and local control of government.
4. Outstanding Constituent Services: Lalor and his staff helped constituents with medical insurance issues, property tax problems, road safety, consumer fraud, family court concerns and Medicare benefits, among a variety of other issues. Where constituents required assistance with federal issues such as immigration or dealing with the Veterans Affairs Department, Lalor's office worked closely with our local Congressional delegation to solve constituent problems.
5. Standing Up For Vets: Lalor led the fight against Governor Cuomo's veto of the Veterans Equality Bill, resulting in Cuomo's ultimate promise to fund the program next year. See Lalor's op-eds here and here and previous press releases. The bill will allow veterans from any era to buy back up to three years of service credit in the public employee retirement systems for their military service. Currently, New York only allows veterans who served during specific conflicts to buy back service credit. For instance, Iraq veterans are currently eligible, while Afghanistan veterans are not. The bill will fix that inequity.
6. Leader of Anti-Corporate Welfare Movement: Lalor continues to be the most outspoken and effective opponent of corporate welfare in the state, leading the fight against the taxpayers' $420 million subsidy for Hollywood filmmakers, exposing in detail the Start-Up NY debacle, challenging tax credits for Viacom while the company laid off New Yorkers and successfully fighting to stop expensive subsidies for a biofuel business owned by a billionaire from being included in the budget. Lalor advocates taking the billions of tax dollars our state spends to subsidize hand-picked corporations and putting it toward across-the-board tax relief for all New Yorkers and businesses who pay taxes.
7. Opposed Irresponsible Budget: Lalor voted against the bloated 2015-16 state budget because it funded SAFE Act enforcement, doubled down on the failed Common Core curriculum and continues unfunded mandates on local governments which drive up property taxes. He also opposed the budget because it failed to address New York's spending problem or to make New York more job-friendly. See full statement on Lalor's opposition to the budget here.
8. Defending the 2nd Amendment: Lalor is a cosponsor of A.3350 and A.3943 which would repeal the SAFE Act. He is also a cosponsor of A.3719 which would allow individuals, duly licensed out-of-state to carry a pistol or firearm, authority to carry such weapon within New York state for a limited duration with proper documentation. Lalor also successfully fought with a bipartisan coalition against anti-Second Amendment legislation in the City of Poughkeepsie.
9. Helping the Less Fortunate: Lalor organized a successful Thanksgiving Food Drive which included collection points in each of the towns he represents to benefit food pantries in the 105th Assembly District, including the Center of Compassion Food Pantry and the Community Resource and Service Center Food Pantry. The generosity of the community has inspired Lalor to make the Thanksgiving Food Drive an annual event. For the third year Lalor's office served as a collection point for the Marine Reserve Toys for Tots drive. Dozens of toys were collected at Lalor's office and distributed through Toys for Tots to needy children in the area.
10. Opposed "The Big Ugly": Lalor opposed the end of session omnibus legislation where instead of carefully debating the merits of each issue, the legislature passed an unwieldy monstrosity that was the product of horse-trading, special-interest pressure and arm-twisting. Hence, the bill is known colloquially as "The Big Ugly". The legislation was rushed through with a message of necessity to avoid debate. It included gimmicky tax rebates that offered no real relief and weakened the tax cap without reducing the unfunded state mandates which drive up property taxes. See Lalor's full statement in opposition to "The Big Ugly" here.
11. Sponsored Important Legislation: Lalor co-sponsored common sense legislation to require all tax assessing units to participate in the enhanced school tax relief exemption (A.7375) which would provide tax relief to New York homeowners. He also co-sponsored legislation to give judges the option to deliver consecutive sentences for multiple homicides committed through a single act or omission (A.317). This bipartisan bill gives judges discretion the current law doesn't allow for. Judges are handcuffed in sentencing and criminals can receive sentences that don't fit their crimes. Lalor is a co-sponsor of the Common Core Parental Refusal Act which would require schools to inform parents of their right to have their children opt out of standardized tests (A.6025). He also drafted legislation that would require companies receiving any subsidies from New York State or local government to disclose the number of employees issued an H1-B visa (A.6514), this would ensure that tax dollars aren't being used to effectively subsidize the outsourcing of jobs. Lalor drafted legislation to remove the income earning limitations for retired police officers employed as school safety officers to give schools more options to improve school safety (A.5410).
12. Relentless Supporter of Small Business: Lalor opposes Governor Cuomo's minimum wage hike because it is an unfunded mandate on businesses that gives big corporations an advantage over small business, and actually decreases opportunities for the entry level workers that minimum wage advocates claim they want to help. He is a co-sponsor of the Small Business Full Employment Act which would enact various measures to provide tax and regulatory relief for small businesses to encourage growth. The bill would require a small business economic impact statement prior to the passage of any rule or regulation that impacts small businesses. The bill requires a regulatory flexibility analysis prior to the adoption of any proposed regulation with the goal of minimizing adverse impact on small businesses. The bill further requires a periodic review of rules and regulations to determine whether such rules should be continued without change, amended or rescinded to minimize economic impact on small businesses.
13. Leading Anti-Pork Efforts: Lalor is leading from the front in the fight against wasteful pork-barrel spending. In a New York Post article opposing the newly discovered pork-barrel spending program and refusing to participate in it, Lalor wrote:
These expenditures always lead to corruption, waste and the perpetuation of a broken system of uncontrollable spending. And that means higher taxes, fewer job opportunities and a mass exodus of New Yorkers.
All spending should go through the Legislature. There are many deserving local projects, but they should be funded in an open and transparent system, where the funds are not controlled by a single legislator.
Let’s face it: Lawmakers will spend this money in a manner that’s designed to generate the biggest electoral bang for the taxpayer’s buck. It’s an expensive incumbent-protection racket and an indirect form of taxpayer-funded political campaigns, which I thought Republicans opposed.
This pork program will temporarily dull a tiny bit of the pain caused by New York’s fiscal problems for a few hand-picked institutions, but the willingness to abandon the bedrock Republican principle of fiscal responsibility will only exacerbate our state’s problems.
See Lalor's New York Post op-ed on the subject here.
14. Eternal Vigilance: Lalor has been an outspoken advocate for national security and the security of New York which remains the number one target of Islamic terrorists. He was the first New York State lawmaker to oppose the relocation to New York of Syrian refugees , who, the FBI Director admits, cannot possibly be properly vetted. Lalor supports US aid to refugees in the form of food, water, medical supplies, shelter and security. He also supports persuading Arab Gulf countries such as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, which have not taken in any refugees to take in refugees, so that refugees can be resettled in the region. Read Lalor's New York Post op-ed here. Lalor opposed the Iran nuclear deal which frees up $150 billion in funds to the Iranian regime which remains the number one state sponsor of terror. He organized a petition drive calling on Senator Schumer to oppose the deal and lead the opposition to the deal among Democrats in the Senate. Lalor also opposed Mayor de Blasio's proposal to give New York City ID cards to illegal immigrants because doing so presents a national security nightmare. Terrorists would be able to easily obtain official government IDs and we can't guarantee these ID cards won't be used to board planes or facilitate other nefarious activities.
15. Righting Wrongs: Lalor drafted and introduced legislation (A.5395) to retroactively give STAR tax rebates to homeowners who had been denied their STAR benefits in the previous year due to errors by the state. A number of New Yorkers who bought homes between July and November 2013, through no fault of their own, made an error with their STAR applications and ended up without STAR for 2014. The mistake was caused by New York State not properly informing new homeowners of the new requirements. Lalor's legislation was incorporated into the budget and homeowners received a refund.
Key First Term Accomplishments by Assemblyman Lalor
1. Leading From the Front to Reduce Spending and Protect the Taxpayer : Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor has unilaterally reduced his office budget by $100,000 by adopting the practices a small business owner would use. For example, Lalor was given a budget to hire movers to set up his new district office. Instead, he rented a U-Haul and moved the furniture himself with the help of volunteers and staff. Lalor also cancelled the cleaning service for the district office. He and the staff take turns vacuuming and dusting the office. Lalor rejected a $9,000 per year leadership stipend and refused per diem allowances, taxpayer-funded travel expenses and a taxpayer-funded pension. Lalor's self-imposed cost-cutting reforms saved the taxpayer more than $50,000 in both 2013 and 2014. If every New York State lawmaker adopted these reforms it would save the taxpayers about $10 million per year. If every state agency adopted Lalor's brand of spending reforms the savings to taxpayers would be in the billions. It is getting harder and harder for governments to get away with presenting the false choice of massive layoffs or tax hikes because Lalor has shown how to lead from the front on spending.
For more info: Saving Taxpayers $100K.
2. Refusing to Support Local Tax Increases: Since taking office, Lalor has declined requests from county, town and village officials to get state permission for local governments to institute a mortgage recording tax, increase taxes on hotel occupancy and to extend the county sales tax at an increased rate. According to Lalor, he refused to support these tax hikes, because, “In the thousands of conversations I had with constituents, no one ever asked me to increase or extend tax hikes. In fact, nearly every constituent I speak with implored me to fight taxes. There will be few chances to lower taxes in an Assembly dominated by tax-and-spend liberals. Refusing to aid and abet tax increases may be the best opportunity to fight for the taxpayer.” Moreover, Lalor believes that the spirit of the property tax cap is violated when municipalities increase fees and institute new taxes to circumvent the property tax cap, rather than reduce spending.
For more info: Stopping Tax Hikes
3. Ensuring Our State's Priorities Are In Order: The Governor's budget cut the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) by $90 million. Meanwhile, the budget provides a $420 million tax credit for Hollywood filmmakers. Lalor called this "a glaring example of misplaced priorities and the government siding with the elites and against the most vulnerable in our society." Lalor sponsored Assembly Bill A.7434, which reduces by $90 million the amount of funds allotted for the Hollywood tax credit and uses the savings to restore the cuts to OPWDD. Through a compromise bill that Lalor supported, cuts to OPWDD were restored.
For more info: Setting Albany's Priorities Straight
4. Commitment to Military Education Act: Due to the federal sequester cuts, our active-duty servicemen and women were denied the funding for higher education they were promised when they enlisted. In a bipartisan effort, Lalor was able to lead the fight to provide the educational assistance promised to New Yorkers who pledged to defend this nation. Lalor sponsored Assembly Bill A.6443 which reduced SUNY tuition for active-duty military personnel by the amount of funding lost by federal cuts. Lalor made two Fox News appearances on this topic. His bipartisan effort got the attention of the U.S. Congress and forced the federal government to reverse its decision to cut tuition assistance. Congressman Chris Gibson (R) said Lalor's state bill played a decisive role in getting military assistance restored at the federal level.
For more info: Fighting for Veterans
5. Opposing Waste in Taxpayer-Funded Institutions: During the summer it was reported that former CIA Director and retired U.S. Army General David Petreaus was going to be paid $150,000 to teach one class to thirty CUNY students. Lalor loudly objected to this kind of spending at a taxpayer-funded school in letters and emails with CUNY officials and in the press. Just days after Lalor's New York Daily News op-ed, Petreaus suddenly agreed to teach the class for $1. This kind of leadership by Lalor on spending not only saved the taxpayers and tuition payers of CUNY in this instance, it put all other institutions receiving taxpayer money on notice that Lalor will expose them if they are engaging in waste or abuse.
6. Passed Animal Shelter Bill Signed by the Governor: Unanimously passed bill which grants an unused parcel of land at the Green Haven correctional facility to the not-for-profit Safe Haven Animal Shelter and Wildlife Center. The building of the shelter will be paid for privately and will be a valuable asset to communities in Southern Dutchess. The project benefits the community significantly but won't cost the taxpayers anything because the property was unused and it didn't cost the state anything to grant Safe Haven the property.
For more info: Legislation
7. Most Independent Member of the Assembly: Since taking office in January, Lalor has established himself as the loudest voice in the Assembly for independent voters. According to the nonpartisan New York Public Interest Research Group, Lalor voted against the Democrat and Republican party bosses more than any other Member of the Assembly.
8. Bipartisan & Conservative: Lalor was one of only two Assemblymen in the state given a 100% rating by the New York State Conservative Party. Meanwhile, he has received accolades for working with Sen. Terry Gipson and other Democrats on bipartisan legislation such as term limits, unfunded mandate relief and preventing the imposition of a Dutchess County mortgage recording tax.
9. Education Forums: After state education officials refused to hear the concerns that parents, teachers and others have about the new Common Core standards and related privacy issues, Lalor organized a forum to ensure all voices were heard. Lalor hosted an education forum in the district that was attended by other members of the Assembly Education Committee and hundreds of residents from the area. Lalor also held a well attended forum to help parents and educators better meet the needs of children with dyslexia.
For more info: Delivering for our Children
10. Repeal the SAFE Act: Lalor is proud to be the only Marine Corps veteran in the Assembly and the first Iraq or Afghanistan veteran in the Assembly. As a Marine, Lalor defended the U.S. Constitution and the rights of Americans. In his first week in the Assembly, Lalor had to defend against an all-out assault on the Second Amendment rights of New Yorkers by our governor. Lalor has co-sponsored Assembly Bills A.5608 and A.5955 to repeal the onerous and unconstitutional SAFE Act.
11. Outstanding Constituent Service: Lalor has worked with constituents to cut through Albany's bureaucracy and make government more responsive. From visiting constituents at their homes to calling state agencies himself to cut through red tape, Lalor is committed to thorough constituent service. As an example, Lalor went to every house in a Beekman neighborhood affected by tainted water, speaking with constituents one-on-one at their homes.
For more info: Dedication to Constituent Service
12. Passed Resolution Honoring Iraq Vets: As the first and only Iraq veteran in the Assembly, Lalor passed a resolution recognizing New Yorkers who served in Iraq and honoring those New Yorkers who gave their lives while fighting in Iraq. The resolution passed on the 10th anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
For more info: Fighting for Veterans
13. Preserved Jobs and Healthcare Options: Successfully fought to preserve St. Francis Hospital as a full service hospital rather than have it absorbed into larger local hospital, saving as many as 1,000 jobs at the hospital and additional jobs with vendors and nearby small businesses. Saving St. Francis Hospital also ensured that area residents have greater healthcare options.
14. Loudest Voice Against the Destructive Policies of Cuomo & Silver: First-year Members of the New York State Assembly are supposed be seen and not heard. Lalor on the other hand, has taken on the two most powerful and destructive men in New York and has become a statewide leader of conservative reformers. For the first two years of his administration Gov. Cuomo met little resistance, even among Republican Members of the Assembly and State Senate. In many cases, Republican incumbents campaigned for reelection as if they were Cuomo’s running mates. Without vocal opposition, Cuomo’s approval numbers soared. With sky high poll numbers, Cuomo felt comfortable lurching hard to the left by ramming through the SAFE Act in the middle of the night and pushing a liberal agenda during the 2013 legislative session. Lalor has been the leading opponent of Gov. Cuomo statewide, opposing his signature economic development law START-UP NY as nothing more than crony capitalism. Lalor also led the successful fight against Cuomo’s misguided plan to give millions of taxpayer dollars to politicians to run their campaigns. Lalor voted against Cuomo’s budget because it increased spending and taxes.
For decades, elected Republicans barely objected to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s accumulation of power. Silver’s virtually unchecked power has led to runaway spending, high taxes, crushing regulations and a culture of corruption. In his first few months on the job, Lalor became the go-to Assembly Republican when the press wanted someone to speak on the record in opposition to Silver. When it became clear that Silver had used taxpayer dollars to cover up sexual harassment of Assembly staffers by Silver’s Democrat colleagues, Lalor defied the go-along-to-get along crowd and held a press conference calling on Silver to step down as Speaker and imploring Democrat colleagues to vote in a new Speaker.
15. Tore Down Cuomo's Manufacturer's Tax Wall: Governor Cuomo's original budget proposal included a plan to eliminate the corporate income tax on "upstate" manufacturers, defined as operating outside the MTA region. Manufacturers in MTA counties, including Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk and New York City, would have continued to pay the tax. Today's budget agreement eliminates the tax for the entire state.
The governor's original proposal was short-sighted and would have shifted jobs out of our communities. It would have been a disaster for Dutchess and Orange County, where businesses could move just a few miles down the road to pay no tax. Lalor organized almost two dozen municipalities to pass resolutions calling on Albany to expand the tax cut to the whole state. Our local leaders knew this was a bad deal and Albany finally listened to us.
Lalor was the first legislator to express opposition to the governor's original proposal. The following municipalities passed Lalor's resolution on the manufacturer's tax cut: the Towns of Wappinger, Beekman, LaGrange, Poughkeepsie, North East, Warwick, Deerpark, Fishkill, Patterson, Goshen, Carmel, Dover, Pawling, Union Vale, Washington and East Fishkill, the Villages of Fishkill, Rhinebeck, Maybrook and Airmont and Orange County.
Ultimately, Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders heard the calls of Lalor and the coalition he built and tore down the tax wall, easing the burden on all small and medium-sized manufacturers in New York.
For more info: Tearing Down Cuomo's Tax Wall
16. Increased Waterfront Parkland: Passed bipartisan legislation by a margin of 112-5, that would enable the Village of Wappingers Falls to expand its waterfront parkland. This will give the village the opportunity to add new waterfront parkland, with a variety of potential new recreation uses for residents. For many years the village has looked to move its old highway garage from the Hudson River Estuary and open up access to the waterfront. In 2012, a developer proposed to donate land to the village and relocate the highway garage. In moving the garage, the village preserved existing park fields on the location of the new highway garage. The village now has a waterfront building and new waterfront parkland with potential uses including a not-for-profit theater group or an estuary boating center with access to the Hudson River. State legislation was required to approve the move.
For more info: Legislation