Friday, January 13, 2006

A New York State Of Mind

Suozzi Announces "New York: A United State" Tour

Follows Filing of Campaign Committee for Possible Gubernatorial Bid

CARLE PLACE, NY -- Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi today announced plans for a statewide issues tour as he filed papers with the State Board of Elections to create a campaign committee to explore a Democratic bid for Governor of the State of New York. He said the crushing burden of high property taxes and the failure of Albany powerbrokers to address the problem are prompting him to consider entering the Democratic primary.

As part of his "New York: A United State" tour, Suozzi will hold meetings across the state over the next several weeks with community, civic and business leaders to get their perspective on the major challenges facing their regions and what the next governor could do to help address those problems.

Suozzi will also share some of the lessons he has learned about the impact state policies have on local governments from his time as chief executive of one of the state's largest and most complex counties, where he has developed a national reputation as a principled reformer who gets results. He was recently named Governing Magazine's "Public Official of the Year" for 2005.

"It has become painfully clear to me that local taxes, especially property taxes--72% above the national average, the highest in the nation, are crushing the residents I serve in Nassau County, as well as residents throughout Long Island and the State. There will never be effective solutions to reduce property taxes, especially school taxes, as well as improve low performing schools and create high-paying jobs, unless we fix Albany," said Suozzi.

"I want to hear from people in other parts of the state to see if they feel the same way, what they would like to see changed, and if they would be interested in working with me to reform the system and make it work for New York once again."

As Nassau County Executive, Suozzi, a lifelong Democrat with long family ties in the Party, has reformed a $2.4 billion county government that was nearly bankrupt and had been rated the worst run county in the nation. His strong leadership has resulted in Nassau County enjoying a reputation for smart, efficient and fiscally conservative operations and being recognized as one of the most dramatic financial turnarounds in the country.

"I believe that New York can be great! To do so we need to make sure that each part of the State can enjoy an improved quality of life. That means that people of Long Island and in areas throughout the State plagued by high property taxes must get relief. That means we must improve low performing schools in New York City and in low performing areas throughout the State. That means we must improve the economy of upstate communities suffering from decline and high unemployment. That means everyone should have the chance to enjoy the American Dream of affordable home ownership," Suozzi said.

"To succeed, we must make New York 'A United State,'" Suozzi continued.

Suozzi's tour around the state builds on the work he has done over the past two years as President of the New York State County Executives Association and as founder of "," a campaign to reform New York State government. In both capacities, Suozzi waged a relentless and successful campaign to reform the State's Medicaid program and to cap the growth of local Medicaid costs.

"To fund property tax relief, reform the school aid formula, improve the upstate economy and build affordable housing will require money. I believe that to find money without raising taxes will mean cracking down, without fear or favor, on a fast-spreading white collar crime that has been largely ignored by state authorities -- costly Medicaid fraud. Medicaid is an important, necessary program that provides essential help to those in need, but in New York State the program cost two and one half times the cost of the national average," said Suozzi.

"I know first hand that no matter how successful local officials are, our constituents have to bear the burden of a dysfunctional state government. Based on my experience, I believe I have a moral and political responsibility to advocate and work for change in the present system," stated Suozzi.

"I look forward to traveling the state, meeting people and learning more about the important issues we share in common. It is no longer upstate versus downstate. It is no longer city versus suburbs. It is no longer black versus white or rich versus poor. We are in this together and we need to make New York 'A United State'," concluded Suozzi.
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