Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R,C-Goldens Bridge) today announced he would be voting against the Assembly Majority’s one-house budget resolution, calling it a letdown for New York taxpayers and attacking the resolution for containing onerous tax hikes, including a tax on infants and cancer treatments, while lacking needed mandate relief.

            “The Assembly Majority’s one-house budget resolution does not contain the necessary reforms needed to address the state’s current and long-term fiscal needs,” Castelli said. “Instead of offering a resolution that seeks to improve the state’s finances, the Assembly Majority is giving New York taxpayers more of the same in higher taxes and increased spending and no relief from unfunded state mandates.  Westchester families and businesses deserve better.” 

Assemblyman Castelli noted that the Assembly Majority’s budget resolution adds half a billion dollars to the Governor’s proposed $133 billion spending plan and calls for $700 million in new taxes this year.  

“Lawmakers need to do better,” Castelli said.  “The resolution hardly addresses any of the tough decisions that lawmakers were expected to make this year, no unfunded mandate relief, no Medicaid reform and no spending restraint.  If the Majority continues down this path, they will push us into bankruptcy and possibly a government shutdown.”

However, Assemblyman Castelli cautioned that this is not the last step in the budget process.

“We currently have the chance to right the ship of state; but the longer the Majority avoids making tough choices and holds onto the belief that they can tax their way out of any problem, the longer it will be until New York can move out of the current economic crisis and move to a more vibrant economy,” Castelli said.


Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli participated in a bipartisan round table discussion on minority and women-owned business enterprises in Albany on March 9th, 2011.

            Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli this week attended a round table discussion on minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs), where he and other lawmakers discussed enhancing opportunities and loosening regulations to increase the number of minority and women owned businesses in the State.

“Young women and minorities are often times directed away from entrepreneurship and high-tech careers through a combination of barriers, the least of which is caused by New York’s hostile regulatory climate towards business,” Castelli said. “Not only are we ranked dead last in the nation as the most business unfriendly State, we also lag behind most other States in creating opportunities for MWBEs.”

The event was sponsored by the Assembly Government Operations and Small Business Committees, as well as the Sub-committee on Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprisess and featured a panel of experts along with a dozen lawmakers from both parties.

“Breaking the glass ceiling, fostering diversity, encouraging and incentivizing small business opportunities for underrepresented groups, including veterans, will promote growth and boost the entirety of our economy as a whole,” Castelli noted. “It is long since over due that we work to repeal harsh regulations, which will aid not only MWBEs but also help all businesses within our great State. And it is worth noting that veterans, which are also a protected minority, deserve the same economic opportunities as all MWBEs.”

During the course of discussing the 2010 Business Diversification Act, which in addition to setting targets for increasing the number of MWBEs in New York State, created position of the States' Chief Diversity Officer. Castelli remarked upon the need to end discriminatory hiring and unfair labor practices against protected classes.

To that end, Castelli has introduced Assembly Bill A6045, which would eliminates unfair labor and housing practices and other forms of discrimination against persons with veteran status by expanding the jurisdiction of the human rights commission.

“One does not Need to honor the war, to respect and honor our warriors,” Castelli said. “Members of our military who served their Country and risked their lives on all our behalf, should be treated with the same dignity and respect we demand for any diverse member of our population. Sensitivity about diversity should be extended to all Americans, most especially those heroic enough to risk their lives in the service of this great Nation.”

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins Joins Mayor Koch Advocating Redistricting Bill 

Joins Fellow Heroes of Reform to Urge Timely Passage

(Albany)- Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins stood with Mayor Ed Koch and several of her legislative colleagues at the Capital today, urging passage of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s redistricting bill. The legislation would create an independent commission to draw legislative districts, which was a major aspect of Mayor Koch’s reform pledge last fall. Senator Stewart-Cousins is designated as a Hero of Reform by Mayor Koch, and promises to fight for passage of the legislation. 

“This bill fulfills the promise that 53 of my Senate colleagues and I made to the people of New York. I would hope that all Senators who signed Mayor Koch’s pledge would join us in passing this legislation and finally establishing an independent redistricting commission in this State,” said Senator Stewart-Cousins.

The power to draw State Senate districts currently lies in the hands of the majority conference leadership of the New York State Senate. In years past, districts have been drawn to ensure the reelection of legislators who represent the political party of those drawing the lines, and Senator Stewart-Cousins says this makes it difficult to remove entrenched incumbents from office.

“Gerrymandering only serves the interests of political parties and legislators in power, not the people whom government officials are elected to serve. One of the reasons I signed Mayor Koch’s pledge last year was to end this practice and give the ability to choose elected leaders back to the people of New York, which is where it belongs in the first place,” the Senator added.

District lines are due to be drawn this year, and will not be redrawn for another ten years. Senator Stewart-Cousins urged the bill to be passed before the upcoming redistricting process.

“This is a matter of transparency and accountability, and we owe it to our constituents to get this done before the district lines are drawn this year.”


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