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Skelos visits Rochester, affirms commitment to upstate

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Long Island, visited Rochester Thursday, meeting with local leaders and offering commitment to Upstate New York in addressing the economic pressures it faces.

Skelos visits Rochester, affirms commitment to upstate

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Long Island, visited Rochester Thursday, meeting with local leaders and offering commitment to Upstate New York in addressing the economic pressures it faces.
Skelos, who last week took over as majority leader from Sen. Joseph Bruno, said he is dedicated to lowering property taxes and expressed support for a school property tax cap proposed by Gov. David Paterson.
“Whether it’s in Buffalo, Rochester or on Long Island where I come from, the one thing that unites all, other than the Erie Canal, are real property taxes,” Skelos said. “That is the No. 1 issue that is stifling economic development and the creation of jobs, the No. 1 reason why people are leaving this state and young people cannot afford to stay in this state.”
Skelos spent the day meeting with local labor leaders, heads of the area colleges and universities, and Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. Wednesday he was in Buffalo, meeting with Mayor Byron Brown and area business and elected leaders.
He addressed the concerns that the state’s three most powerful elected officials—Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and himself—are all from downstate and not in tune with the issues facing upstate.
“My district on Long Island—I’m not from New York City—is very similar to many of the communities here in Rochester and the western part of the state,” Skelos said. “My district is suburban and has many of the same issues like job creation and property taxes.”
Citing examples of initiatives the Senate’s Republican majority has taken to address economic issues facing upstate, Skelos said further efforts still need to be taken to stem the rise in property taxes. He said the economic health of upstate is a priority for all members of the majority, not just those who represent these areas.
“Rest assured that one of the things our majority conference has stood for is fairness within the regions,” Skelos said. “That’s something that Joe Bruno just fought for every day.
“I should remind you when New York City was in trouble, it was (state Sen. Warren Anderson) from Binghamton who saved New York City. When Nassau County was in trouble many of my upstate colleagues stepped to the plate. And believe me, we’re going to continue to step up to the plate to make sure the fair share comes here.”
Brooks said the commitment Skelos has shown to the upstate region in his short time as majority leader has been encouraging.
“What people need to do is give Sen. Skelos the benefit of the doubt,” Brooks said. “He’s here and I think his presence here and his encouraging words show a great commitment to Upstate New York. He recognizes the value of his conference, and most of that conference is upstate representation, so I think we’re going to see a lot of him.”

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