In response to recent comments made in the press by the Minority Leader of the Orange County Democratic Caucus, Michael Paduch, I must clarify some of his assertions. First, he claims that there are 200 funded but unfilled positions in the 202 County budget. This is true, however, many of these positions could have been filled in 2020 if not for the current mandates with no funding from the New York State government. Thank God there is some funding with these unfilled positions to counter the crippling effect New York State has imposed on all local governments, especially counties. Perhaps Minority Leader Paduch’s time would be better spent lobbying his liberal tax and spend friends who represent us in Albany. Bail Reform, free tuition for illegal immigrants, central arraignment, Green Light New York, Early Voting, the Safe Act and Start-Up New York are just a few Democratic initiatives from Albany that have harpooned our hardworking taxpayers in the midst of little, if any, State aid.
The Republican-led Orange County Legislature has stayed below the tax cap in its annual operating budgets since its inception in 2011. The State of New York does not even have a tax cap, which is a joke in and of itself. Working with our Republican County Executive, the Republican Majority has worked diligently to keep taxes stable and maintain our superb bond rating.
With respect to the request for a couple of night meetings for our regular Legislative Session by the Democratic Caucus, we considered it. However, attendance at our regular monthly Legislative Sessions is always, and I repeat, always agenda driven. When I was first elected to the Legislature 26 years ago, the meetings used to be at 1:30 p.m. We tried different schedules, and 3:30 p.m. seems to work the best without incurring overtime costs for security and county employees who are required to attend. In addition, others who attend county meetings would not be able to attend city, town, or village meetings. Similarly, many seniors do not drive at night. The Republican Caucus will continue to strive for transparency, open government and stable taxes.
CHAIRMAN, ORANGE COUNTY LEGISLATURE