Albany, N.Y. – 03/31/2014 – New York State and Dutchess County officials recently announced $5.25 million in the New York State 2014-2015 Budget that will enable Dutchess County to repeal the recently enacted energy tax. Officials are calling out Senator Terry Gipson, saying he was absent without official leave when Dutchess County needed him the most.
The local tax, which took effect on March 1, 2014, imposed a 3.75 percent sales tax on all residential energy sources, including electricity and fuel oil to balance a deficit in the Dutchess County Budget.
Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson), Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Hudson), County Executive Molinaro and others were able to successfully lobby for $5.25 million of mandate relief in the 2014-2015 State Budget to repeal the local energy tax. However, officials are saying this funding comes without the help of the Senator that represents the majority of Dutchess County, Senator Terry Gipson.
Evidence of Senator Gipson’s lack of involvement is highlighted in his speech on the Senate Floor when he cites that Dutchess County will receive $3.5 million in funding, when the correct total is much larger, $5.25 million, from multiple line items.
Senator Greg Ball said: “Senator Terry Gipson says one thing when he is in Dutchess County, but does the complete opposite in Albany. Senator Gipson turned his back on Dutchess County when they needed him the most. Now it seems that Gipson is trying to claim credit for this funding. I was happy to work in a bipartisan effort with Assemblywoman Barrett and County Executive Molinaro to deliver this funding. Senator Gipson was AWOL, absent without official leave. Dutchess can and should do better than Terry Gipson.”
The funding comes from three unique areas of need for Dutchess County. $3.5 million was allotted for services and expenses of Dutchess County, $1.4 million was allotted for services and expenses of the Dutchess County Coordinated Jail Based Services and $350,000 was allotted to help offset the closure of the Hudson River Psychiatric Center (HRPC).
County Executive Marcus Molinaro said: “This critical state aid for Dutchess County delivered by Senator Greg Ball and Assemblywoman Barrett will allow the County to balance its budget without eliminating core services or the need for a tax on residential energy sources. We are grateful to Senator Ball and Assemblywoman Barret. Sadly, others are now attempting to take credit for something they had little or nothing to do with. We have always sought to do what’s right and I’m proud this community came together in a bipartisan way to address critical community needs and reduce the burden placed on our taxpayers.”
Dutchess County Comptroller Jim Coughlan said: “Besides a few press releases and a tired recycled energy policy that does nothing to provide real relief for beleaguered taxpayers, Senator Gipson has paid lip service to Dutchess county residents for 15 months and has done nothing to provide real relief. Senator Ball needs a real partner in Albany to solve problems, not someone who is part of the problem. As the only true fiscal Conservative running against Senator Gipson, I have made a pledge to never raise taxes and like Senator Ball, I’m not afraid to stand up to political insiders and the go along get along crowd.”
Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Rob Rolison said: “In January, I called on our State Legislators to partner with us to deliver mandate relief in order to repeal the energy tax. Senator Greg Ball was there for us, but unfortunately Senator Gipson was nowhere to be found. Terry Gipson was elected as the accidental Senator, and now he is proving to be the absentee Senator. When elected Senator, I will continue to work hard to give the people of New York’s 41st District representation they deserve.”
Legislator Angela Flesland, Majority Leader said: “As residents became more aware of the devastating toll unfunded mandates have on Dutchess County and the other 61 counties, mandate relief became a popular buzz word with many state legislators. Assemblywoman Didi Barrett and Senator Greg Ball didn’t give us empty rhetoric and lip service when it came to delivering results though, they worked together and made it happen. Unfortunately, Senator Gipson seems to have morphed into a typical Albany politician in record time during his short tenure in the State Senate. Senator Gipson sat on the sidelines while Senator Ball and Assemblywoman Barrett delivered mandate relief. Since Senator Gipson was recently quoted talking about 63 counties in NY it is no surprise he couldn’t deliver mandate relief for counties when he doesn’t even know how many counties there are. We simply can not afford to have an absentee senator representing us in Albany, we can not afford Terry Gipson any longer.”
Legislator Jim Miccio, Environment Chairman said: “Though Senator Gipson represented the Village of Rhinebeck before being elected to the State Senate, this State budget proved he was not ready for the big leagues. Despite representing only a fraction of Dutchess County, Senator Greg Ball continues to deliver much more for Dutchess than Terry Gipson. Since it is the opening day of baseball, it’s appropriate we send Terry Gipson back to the minors and recruit someone capable of performing in the major leagues.”
Legislator Alan Surman, Government Services and Administration Chairman said: “One has to wonder what Terry Gipson is doing in Albany, what he is clearly not doing is advocating for Dutchess County. When one of the largest issues facing Dutchess County and our taxpayers are the burden of unfunded mandates, it is unfathomable when it came time to deliver relief, Senator Gipson was missing in action. When non mandated services like Sheriff’s road patrols, 911 dispatch, senior and veterans services, and highway and bridge maintenance were in jeopardy due to the overwhelming cost of mandates from Albany, he did nothing to make sure these services remain for residents. Terry Gipson owes it to the taxpayers to tell them why he did nothing to guarantee someone would answer the phone at the 911 center during an emergency. The bureaucracy of Albany must be more important to Senator Gipson than allowing Dutchess County to provide the services residents need the most at a cost they can afford.”
Legislator Ken Roman, Public Safety Chairman said: “It is truly amazing that Senator Gipson sent out multiple taxpayer funded mailers talking about mandate relief, yet when it was time to deliver mandate relief, he was nowhere to be found. We need a Senator who doesn’t waste our hard earned tax dollars sending us mailers touting ideas, but rather delivers results to save us money.”
Legislator Rob Weiss said: “When 70% of the County budget is consumed by unfunded mandates it is sad that Dutchess County’s primary Senator, Terry Gipson, did nothing to bring about much needed change. Though he only represents two towns in Dutchess, Senator Greg Ball worked in a bipartisan fashion with Assemblywoman Didi Barrett to be the voice of reason and advocacy for Dutchess County in Albany.”
Legislator Ellen Nesbitt said: “While Senator Ball and Assemblywoman Barrett assisted Dutchess, Senator Terry Gipson was no where to be found. While we were in Albany, on the floor of the Senate no less, Gipson was on the floor but couldn’t even muster the energy to talk to our group of local Dutchess officials. When Dutchess County needed Senator Gipson the most, he was not there to help us.”
Charles Godfrey owner of Second Chance Farm in Milan said: “Running a small business in New York is hard, red tape from Albany shouldn’t make it worse. When I met with Senator Gipson’s office about an initiative to help Dutchess County farmers, they said they would get back to me and never did. Not only is Terry Gipson absent from advocating for mandate relief, he’s absent for the farmers and small business owners trying to succeeded.”
Jim McCarthy, owner of Cloverbrook Farm said: “As a small business owner of Cloverbrook Farm in Dutchess County I would like to thank Senator Greg Ball and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett for working together to solve this energy tax crisis. Owning a business in Dutchess is extraordinarily hard enough, after already needing to squeeze every penny in this bad economy. It is shameful that some couldn’t work in a bipartisan fashion to assist Dutchess families and businesses. The relief this energy tax repeal will bring cannot be overstated. I am glad my concerns and those across Dutchess were heard by leaders who cared. Those who didn’t will certainly and rightfully so be remembered during election time. I think it’s time for all representatives to work together.”
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