Dan Stec of Queensbury — now the state Assembly representative for the southern Adirondacks — talks in early 2012 to Essex County residents about what changes they'd like to see in state government. This week as Stec was preparing to move into his new offices in Albany and Glens Falls, Stec discussed his initial legislative priorities.
As new 114th District Assemblyman Dan Stec visited several counties this week to witness their annual reorganizational ceremonies, he identified his initial legislative priorities.
While the state leaders will be grappling with whether to allow casinos, raising the minimum wage and gun control as top issues, Stec said he will be advocating other objectives that reflect the needs of his constituents in the southern Adirondacks.
“We really need to make the economy and the job market the number one priority,” he said. “So many other things stem from the business climate and the state of the economy.”
Stec said that in this vein he will be lobbying to curb laws that entangle businesses and raise their costs and unnecessarily burden their operations.
“We’ll be looking to reduce regulations that hinder businesses,” he said.
Also a top priority, he said, will be reducing the tax burden in New York State which is nothing less than legendary.
“We have to work on reducing the cost of state government, and that includes entitlements and other things that drive the cost of living in our state through the roof,” he said.
This past week, Stec visited the reorganizational meetings of Essex County, Washington County, and his home turf of Warren County.
“I’m trying to continue to be as visible as possible in the 114th District and listen to my constituents’ concerns,” he said.
Stec’s influence in Albany will likely be bolstered by his appointment to several high-profile committees. Area political observers have been pleased that he received the appointments to influential posts despite being a Freshman state Assembly representative.
Stec has been named to the Environmental, Tourism, Social Services, Banking, and Local Government committees.
He said that serving on the Environmental Conservation Committee would be particularly important, as that panel makes some vital decisions which effect residents of the southern Adirondacks.
The state’s recent purchase of 69,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn land for $48 million has been criticized by Adirondackers for the likelihood it will hamper the economy and curtail job growth.
“I’m not a fan of how the state acquired the land,” Stec said, noting that the first phase of the land sale closed about two weeks ago. “Rather than an outright sale, I’d like to see more land in conservation easements and classified as ‘Working Forests. ’There’s still room for work on how this sale is accomplished — I want to make sure local residents’ and community leaders’ concerns are addressed as much as possible.”
Another top priority is to curb costly and restrictive state government dictates passed down to local municipalities, he said.
Such mandate relief is vital for local jurisdictions — particularly school districts that pay heavy expenses related to meeting state regulations, Stec said.
“Talking with school superintendents through the district, they’ve identified mandated programs and expenses which need to be cut,” he said. “We need to be asking the question, ‘Is this a need or is it a want?’”
Stec said he was committed to reducing the size and cost of government, and he was ready to get to work on these causes.
“We must have a fiscally responsible state budget,” he said. “We have to be honest and realistic in the state of New York about what we can and cannot afford.”