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Legislators discuss state budget woes over cereal

PLATTSBURGH - The financial plight of New York may be bleak, but legislators are hopeful tightening of the purse strings in Albany will bring about much-needed change.

State Sen. Elizabeth O'C. Little, R-Queensbury; Assemblywoman Teresa R. Sayward, R-Willsboro; and Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru, shared their views of the $10 billion budget deficit facing the Empire State during the North Country Chamber of Commerce's Legislative Forum Breakfast March 4.

New York State has to be fixed through tough actions, said Little during her address of nearly 200 people last week.

"Everyone knows that change has to happen," Little said. "People are no longer talking about the high taxes in New York State. They're using their feet to move out of New York State and to take their money, their business, their wealth elsewhere."

One of the keys to turning the ship around will be to make state government more business-friendly, said the senator, reducing or eliminating state mandates that can have a devastating effect on businesses.

"Everybody always talks about the taxes in New York State and we do have a lot of taxes - we're ranked right up there near the top when you combine income, property, sales tax and all of that," said Little. "I actually think that for many businesses it's the regulations that are the killer ... They may be good ideas, but they should not be a mandate. They should not be required."

"Our business climate has to improve," Little continued. "That's the way we'll make the businesses here more workable and happier to be here. And, that's the way we'll continue to attract new businesses."

Making sure the North Country continues to be heard in discussions in Albany is also essential to ensuring funding reaches places north of the Capital District, she added.

"We have to really make sure we get the attention we need," Little said. "We have smaller numbers, but I think working together and working with our other North Country legislators we have tried to make our points. And, we will continue to do that."

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