Sunday, December 31, 2006

Spitzer's Campaign Outlined His Agenda

AP Story Fox News

A very good summary of where Eliot stands on statewide issues...........andy

During his successful campaign for governor, Democrat Eliot Spitzer laid out a broad agenda. Here is some of what he offered:
He has said he is opposed to raising state taxes. He has proposed a plan that would provide $1.5 billion in property tax relief in 2007, $2 billion in 2008 and $2.5 billion in 2009, all targeted at middle-class families. Spitzer's tax cuts would come through an increase in STAR, a property tax credit plan started by Gov. George Pataki and the Legislature. Families at or below the median state income of about $60,000 a year (higher for wealthier areas) would see up to an 80 percent increase in the STAR benefit. That would taper off until the household income is twice the median income. New Yorkers earning in the top 2 percent of income -- more than $235,000 a year -- would see no additional benefit.
Spitzer called for a "New York State Innovation Fund" to support research with "direct commercial application." He said he would streamline work force training programs, create a fund for immediate training needs and duplicate Ireland's "One Step Up" campaign to improve worker skills, all to help keep young New Yorkers from leaving the state. He wants to overhaul the state's economic development programs, including the $500 million in Empire Zone tax breaks that too often go to politically connected companies.
Spitzer has identified $11 billion in spending cuts and revenue raisers over several years that he said will be needed if spending is increased for education and other areas. He has vowed to bring Medicaid spending under control and attack fraud.
Spitzer had said he would provide $4 billion to $6 billion toward the CFE decision and more for other high-needs schools statewide, but that was before the state's top court ruled in late November that the state must pay at least $1.93 billion more each year to provide "a sound, basic education" to New York City school students. Subsequently, Spitzer said he would call for higher spending than the court had ordered. He has also said New York City should spend more on its schools, a proposition that Mayor Michael Bloomberg opposes. Spitzer also supports boosting the number of charter schools, currently capped at 100.
Spitzer favors gay marriage and says he will sign legislation authorizing it if the Legislature approves it.
Spitzer has said he supports the death penalty for terrorists, killers of police officers and for those involved in heinous crimes, but won't make it a top anti-crime priority.
Spitzer would limit the governor and other statewide candidates to two terms and seek unspecified term limits for all legislators.
Spitzer has said he is opposed to immediate pay raises for state legislators who currently have a base salary of $79,500 a year.
Generally, Spitzer has been supportive of allowing Indian-owned casinos in New York as an economic development tool. He has said casinos should only be negotiated with tribes that have land claims in New York.
Spitzer joined Gov. Pataki in successfully calling for adoption of the state commission report that would close nine hospitals statewide. Like Pataki, Spitzer has said the report is not perfect, a position that leaves open the possibility that he may go along with changes.
He has said he wants a health care system that covers every child in New York state and he has a goal of cutting the total number of uninsured New Yorkers in half in four years.

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