Property Taxes County Executive Astorino has cut or frozen property taxes every year he has been in office, resulting in the highest reduction of property taxes in New York State. His chief priority has been to find the healthy balance between what we can spend and what taxpayers can afford. He reduced the size of government–starting with his own staff–while significantly improving the social safety net for Westchester’s less fortunate residents. Rob has been a leading voice in the fight against Albany’s unfunded mandates, the driving cost of property taxes. In Westchester County, 85 cents of each dollar of the tax levy goes to just nine of Albany’s mandates. County Executive Astorino has proven that through leadership and tough choices, you can cut taxes and spending and still create a smarter, more efficient government.
Economic Development Rob understands the key to our long-term future is through the creation of a robust, competitive economy. Under his leadership, more than 30,000 private sector jobs have been created in Westchester County. Before taking office in 2009, several of the county’s businesses were thinking about leaving due to high taxes and a government that was unresponsive to the business community. County Executive Astorino has worked with Westchester’s businesses–both large and small–to create an environment where they can not only stay, but grow. He successfully created a local development corporation that is assisting non-profit and civic organizations like hospitals across the county. Westchester has one of the smartest workforces in the nation and Rob is continuing to find cutting-edge ways to partner our immense talent with our local businesses.
Repeal Common Core
As a former school board member, a husband of a special-education teacher and a father who has spent countless hours helping his kids with homework, here is why I oppose Common Core:
- It’s experimental, conceived in secrecy with no public hearings and never tested.
- It actually lowers standards. Math and ELA content experts on the validation panel said the standards were of “poor quality.” (Their concerns were removed from the final report).
- No K-12 teachers were involved in writing the standards.
- It’s considered by many to be developmentally inappropriate in the early grades and not based on well-researched child development knowledge.
- It is education guided at the federal level — not the state and local level.
Before New York blindly accepted Common Core in exchange for federal dollars, a team of New York educators was well underway in developing the nation’s best academic standards through a transparent process filled with public forums and feedback from teachers and parents. The standards were high but developmentally appropriate, and they relied on multiple methods of measuring student progress — not just standardized testing. A loud, collective voice was raised yesterday. How long can Albany ignore it?
Investing in our infrastructure is critical to ensuring our economic success. As County Executive, Rob has invested millions in road, sewer and water projects across the county. He was an early and outspoken advocate for rebuilding the Tappan Zee Bridge, and successfully fought for the inclusion of a mass transit component.
Quality of Life
Quality of life in Westchester is second to none and County Executive Astorino is continuously finding ways to improve. His plan to reinvigorate Playland amusement park will protect taxpayers, while ensuring we will be able to enjoy the historical park for generations to come. From increasing bike and hiking trails to bringing the Knicks D- league to the County Center, Rob wants to make Westchester a place where we can live, work and have fun with family and friends.
Keeping Westchester residents safe is our number one concern. Following the Sandy Hook tragedy, County Executive Astorino created an initiative called Safer Communities, a comprehensive and long-term approach to making our schools safer and combating the often-overlooked aspect of youth mental health. This breakthrough program is the first of its kind in the nation. Rob has also focused on addressing the growing heroin epidemic plaguing New York State. First responders are being trained to administer the life-saving drug Narcan, and through the creation of a multi-agency task force more than 100 heroin dealers have been taken off the streets.
Prior to Rob taking office in 2009, Westchester County entered into an affordable housing settlement with the federal government that required the county to build 750 new units of affordable housing. Under Rob’s leadership, the county is ahead of schedule in building the units. However, the federal government is admittedly trying to go beyond the terms of the settlement by attempting to force the county to sue municipalities to dismantle their local zoning laws. Rob has stood firm against this overreach of power. New York is a “home rule” state and Rob will continue fighting to protect the rights of local communities, while working collaboratively with them to build affordable housing for all.
Westchester is home to some of the state’s most beautiful natural resources. From the Long Island Sound Shore, the Hudson River and our thousands of acres of parkland, we have a responsibility to protect and enhance these treasures. Rob Astorino has been a leader on these issues, having been endorsed in 2013 by the New York State League of Conservation Voters. He has championed numerous environmental initiatives, including switching the county’s vehicle fleet to hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles, flood mitigation projects that clean debris and garbage from our rivers, expanded recycling to include plastics #3-7 and providing tax credits to homeowners who retrofit their homes with solar panels, among others.
New York government is ranked as the most corrupt in America. It is a disgraceful distinction. In 2014, Rob Astorino released a multi-layered state ethics reform plan that includes term limits for state officials — just like Rob passed for himself as County Executive — and the stripping of pensions of all state elected leaders convicted of crimes. He has been an outspoken critic of the cozy deals in Albany — and the outright corruption — that continues to add to the burden of taxpayers. Rob will continue to speak out on cleaning up government.