Issues

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Suozzi’s 15-Point Crime Intervention and Prevention Plan

Violent crime is skyrocketing. In the last two years:
  • In New York City, shootings doubled and homicides increased 50%
  • In Rochester, homicides doubled to the highest rate in 30 years
  • In Buffalo, shootings rose 87% and homicides rose 43%
  • In Syracuse, homicides rose 61%
  • Crime rates in Upstate cities like Troy, Newburgh, and Watertown ranked among the highest in the nation for cities of their size

While Kathy Hochul refuses to lead on bail reform and crime, waiting for “more data”, New Yorkers continue to live in fear of violent criminals.

Unlike Kathy Hochul, who got an “A” rating from the NRA when she was in Congress and said how “proud” she was the be “one of two Democrats” who received their endorsement, Tom Suozzi has always received an “F” rating from the NRA. He has been a fierce advocate for gun violence prevention, co-sponsoring every major piece of gun violence legislation in Congress.

There is no more important job for the Governor than keeping people safe. Criminals must understand that there will be serious consequences for their actions.

Intervention

  1. Fix the Failed Bail Reform Law. Allow judges to take “dangerousness” into account. New York is the only state in the country that does not allow a judge to detain a defendant who poses a threat to the community.
  2. Implement “precision policing models” that rely on a systematic, proactive approach using all available data, statistics, and information to prevent crime before it happens. Employ state-of-the-art technology to find street criminals with illegal handguns.
  3. Support Mayor Adams’ new “Neighborhood Safety Teams” that will target high value suspects. Stop, Question, and Frisk using only trained, certified officers and respecting constitutional rights. Increase funding for Gun Suppression programs to build strong criminal cases.
  4. Remove any District Attorney who refuses to enforce the laws of New York State and revisit the discovery process reform, which has made it more difficult to prosecute crimes. Any changes would fulfill its original intent to reform the process. Changes could adjust the timeline, provide additional resources for prosecutors and law enforcement, and utilize new technology to facilitate coordination between prosecutors and law enforcement.
  5. Improve the state’s broken Juvenile Justice System and ensure that judges have all the relevant information regarding prior records and the power to act.

Prevention

  1. Provide the funding and training to assist our police departments to move to a universal community policing model where officers become trusted members of the communities they protect and members of the community become valuable partners for law enforcement.
  2. Implement Tom Suozzi’s revolutionary “No Wrong Door” program, bringing together, on a statewide basis, social services, health services, mental health, veterans, seniors, youth, physically challenged, and drug and alcohol programs to proactively help people in crisis. Bring all federally funded, state funded, locally funded, and not-for-profit existing social services into New York’s troubled schools to address children’s problems at a young age…before they grow into more serious problems later in life. (See “Suozzi’s Troubled Schools Transformation Plan” below)
  3. Expand SNUG Programs to identify and diffuse community “hot spots”. Focus on identifying youth who are gang members or who are at risk of joining gangs and provide the mentorship and leadership programs to break the cycle of violence.
  4. Expand Kendra’s Law to allow judges, police, social workers, and family members to get mentally ill people the help they need. Grant court orders to mandate that mentally unstable people comply with a treatment plan.
  5. Provide funding for social workers to team up with probation officers to get parolees the help they need.

Get Guns off Our Streets

  1. Create a Multi-State Commission to stop the flow of illegal out-of-state guns.
  2. Expand the use of ShotSpotters and the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).
  3. Expand gun buybacks, working with trusted community partners throughout the state.
  4. Fully implement New York’s Red Flag Law to educate the public, law enforcement, social workers, and others that New York’s courts have the power to prevent “dangerous” people from having access to firearms.
  5. Unite behind common sense federal anti-gun legislation providing stronger background checks and extending waiting periods for certain firearms purchases.

Suozzi's Plan to Lower Property Taxes and Cut State Income Taxes by 10%

New York suffered the largest population loss of any state in the nation from 2020 to 2021. 319,000 more people left our state than moved here. In the last decade, New York lost a nationwide high of 1.3 million residents.

Many New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in America, not just in the suburbs but in Upstate cities too. Those Upstate property owners also pay the highest-in-the-nation “effective tax rates” (comparing property taxes to home values). Binghamton’s rate was 3.19%, the highest in the country. 14.1% of New Yorkers’ incomes go directly to state and local governments, the highest of any state.

The cost of educating our children has increased exponentially. New York now spends more than $30,000 per K-12 student, making it the most expensive public education system in the country.

As Chair of the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief (appointed by two Governors), Tom Suozzi led the fight for a cap on property tax increases that passed in 2011.

New York State is currently flush with surplus cash from the American Rescue Plan that Tom Suozzi helped deliver to New York, along with the New York congressional delegation. Record high Wall Street profits and bonuses have further increased the State Treasury. Now is the time to develop a long-term plan to reduce taxes and debt, which have both made our state uncompetitive.

Education: Mandates to Guidelines

  1. Convert state-mandated educational regulations into state-suggested educational guidelines.

    State mandates drive up the costs of education. One size does not fit all. Local school boards, administrators, teachers, and parents should decide what makes sense for their own schools and children.

    If a school district is performing well (graduation rates, test scores, etc.), then the state need not interfere. If a district is failing its students, then instead of imposing additional, punitive, and more costly measures, the state should provide the district with “SWAT” (Social Work And Teaching) teams to help improve performance.

  2. Increase State Aid to education and tie it to school districts’ efforts to drive down local property taxes. The more State Aid a struggling school district receives, the less it must raise in property taxes.
  3. Expand and make permanent the state’s property tax “Circuit Breaker”. Homeowners, especially senior citizens,  should not be required to pay above a certain percentage of their income in property taxes.

Make Medicaid More Affordable, Efficient, Transparent… More Accountable

New York State’s per-capita Medicaid spending is the highest in the country – double the national average. The state requires New York City and the 57 other counties to pay more for Medicaid than all other local governments in the nation combined. For some counties, their share of the state’s $70 billion Medicaid program takes up almost 80% of their total property tax revenue.

Tom Suozzi’s 2004 “Fix-Albany.com” campaign forced the state to pass the 2005 “Medicaid Cap”, saving New Yorkers billions of dollars in taxes by making the state more accountable for Medicaid spending. When the Medicaid Cap was subsequently reduced to zero, with no additional costs for local governments when their Medicaid spending increased, local governments became less accountable.

  1. Establish a Medicaid accountability system that will incentivize counties and the City of New York to reduce their Medicaid costs.
  2. Crack down on billions of dollars of unnecessary, improper, and questionable Medicaid payments.

Grow New York’s Economy, Especially Upstate.

High taxes, skyrocketing utility costs, and red tape have contributed to the flight of people from New York State. New York used to have 45 members of Congress. We now have 27 and we’re about to lose another because of the most recent Census. New York needs to stop its exodus of residents by making it more attractive to live here than to move to low tax states like Florida or Texas. The biggest population growth opportunities in New York are Upstate.

  1. Slash the red tape to help small business owners navigate the state bureaucracy. Insist that every small business owner be made aware of the free resources that are available to them.
  2. Create a New York State Public Bank with deposits from the State Treasury that would work in conjunction with existing community-based banks and credit unions. The Public Bank would assist the million under- and un-banked New Yorkers and help invest in under- and un-served communities, facilitating federal and state loans to grow small businesses and help struggling families to buy homes.
  3. Implement the skills training and apprenticeship programs that allow high school graduates to get jobs in high-paying industries like the building trades, computer programming, and other high-skilled sectors that do not require a four-year college education. The American Dream is the simple idea that if you work hard, you make enough money so you can afford a house, you can educate your kids, you can get health care, and you can retire without being scared. But that dream doesn’t exist for a lot of New Yorkers anymore. We need to do a better job of giving the 62% of New Yorkers who do not graduate from college the chance to live the American Dream.
  4. Strengthen Community Development Corporations (CDCs) to bring economic investment to every part of the state. Reenergize distressed communities where public or private funding sources are not available.
  5. Help wind power and green energy generate billions of new dollars and tens of thousands of new, good-paying union jobs throughout the state. Make New York City, Long Island, Westchester, the Hudson Valley, and the Capital Region the spoke of the Eastern Seaboard’s growing energy wheel.

Suozzi’s Troubled Schools Transformation Plan

Troubled, under-performing schools dot the landscape of our state. We continually fail to respond to the real needs of schoolchildren, especially those most in need.

Tom Suozzi believes what Bishop Desmond Tutu often said: “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”

When Suozzi was Nassau County Executive, he created a revolutionary new program called “No Wrong Door” that provided a single point of entry for residents requiring assistance to any of the eight County human services departments.

  1. Apply the “No Wrong Door” concept to our schools by bringing federal, state, local, and non-profit social services directly into school buildings. Teachers, who see their students every day, are the people best able to tell if a child needs help, but they simply don’t have the capacity to diagnose and treat those problems.
  2. Empower teachers to identify students’ problems so those children can be referred to social workers from existing social service programs so that their challenges can be addressed at a young age…before they grow into more serious problems later in life.
  3. Develop a comprehensive, statewide job-training and job-placement program that connects thousands of non-profits, private sector companies, high schools, and communities in a data-driven system to create job-placement service centers.
  4. Maintain the statewide charter school cap and eliminate the New York City “sub-cap”. Close charter schools performing poorly and expand those performing well. When approving new charters, prioritize those from successful existing networks.
  5. Oppose efforts to shut down Specialized High Schools and Gifted and Talented Programs and expand the Gifted and Talented Program beyond the existing 16,000 students.

Suozzi Affordable Housing Expansion Plan

Tom Suozzi opposed Kathy Hochul’s ill-advised plan to force Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) into our communities, eliminating single-family zoning throughout the state. While Hochul’s plan has been removed from her budget proposal, she is still trying to push it through the legislative process. There is a better way to expand New York’s affordable housing stock based on local control, not Hochul control.

  1. Craft a comprehensive, multi-billion dollar plan to build affordable homes and apartments throughout the state.
  2. Renovate, redesign, and recondition office buildings and older hotels into housing units throughout the state, and require that a minimum of 30% are affordable housing. Adjust zoning regulations and restrictions on these conversions to expedite applications.

    The COVID pandemic, the shift to remote work, and the new gig economy have left many commercial buildings, office centers, and hotels empty, creating an opportunity to expand New York’s affordable housing stock for generations.

  3. Craft a tax incentive and tax abatement program based on the successful aspects of previous programs to build new affordable housing. Promote the redevelopment of commercial buildings into multi-family housing statewide, with special incentives for Upstate cities’ downtowns.

    • The program must be balanced, without providing excessive returns on investment to developers (i.e., should be less than 10%)
    • The program must ensure robust labor protections including project labor agreements, prevailing wages, and apprenticeship programs
    • Units must be subject to rent stabilization for the duration of the tax benefits
  4. Incentivize localities to increase transit-oriented development in suburban downtowns and provide municipalities with grants to develop planning and zoning codes that will encourage “cool downtowns” with more dining and entertainment options and workforce housing.
  5. Bolster the New York State Homes and Community Renewal program to maximize more federal funding.

Suozzi’s Government Accountability Plan

”Public corruption remains a problem in New York. It is a bipartisan problem. It is an ongoing problem.”

– United States Attorney Damian Williams
Press Conference Announcing Bribery and Corruption Charges Against Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin
(April 12, 2022)

Governor Hochul has fostered a culture of corruption in Albany and has done nothing to fix the problems that caused The Washington Post to rank New York as the #1 most corrupt state in the country.

Despite saying “A new era of transparency will be one of my hallmarks of my administration” and “We’ll focus on open, ethical governing that New Yorkers will trust”, Hochul has made the culture of corruption worse.

Hochul’s handpicked Lieutenant Governor was forced to resign after being arrested on bribery and corruption charges.

She gave the billionaire owners of the Buffalo Bills the largest taxpayer-funded handout in NFL history, jamming it into the state budget at the last second after a secretive negotiation with no public debate.

After refusing to release her daily schedules to the public for months, the schedules she has released show an unprecedented amount of time spent at fundraisers with lobbyists. They also showed abuse of taxpayer-funded state aircraft that forced her to reimburse the state for tens of thousands of dollars.

We need common sense reforms that will increase transparency and restore New Yorkers’ faith in the Office of the Governor.

  1. Any expenditure over $10 million not included in the Executive Budget, the Senate Budget, or the Assembly Budget that is added during the budget process must be subject to legislative hearings.
  2. Adopt federal laws: Lower contribution limits and prohibit corporate donations for state campaigns.
  3. Quarterly disclosure filings.
  4. Reform JCOPE into independent ethics commission.
  5. Ban use of state aircraft for non-official events.
  6. Ban use of a statewide elected official’s name, photo, video, voice, or likeness in taxpayer-funded, unsolicited mass communications within 90 days of election.

Suozzi’s Infrastructure Rebuilding and Modernization Plan

Recent studies ranking states by their infrastructure consistently have New York near the bottom of the list.

Tom Suozzi has a comprehensive plan that reflects the demands of New York’s $1.7 trillion economy and incorporates sustainable infrastructure that can mitigate the impacts of climate change while reducing human contributions that exacerbate the ongoing crisis.

This once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment looks to the future and is smarter, safer, and built to last.

As the Vice Chair of Congress’s bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, Suozzi played a key role in negotiating and passing the landmark $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. It will bring close to $30 billion into New York for infrastructure spending: almost $15 billion for new roads and bridges, $100 million to upgrade broadband throughout the state, $10 billion to improve public transportation options, and $685 million for airport investments.

  1. Create a dedicated department to prioritize all the state’s infrastructure proposals, facilitate federal grants and financing, and do whatever is necessary to get these projects moving ahead.
  2. Immediately focus the New York State Department of Transportation on securing the billions of dollars already allocated and move the money into shovel-in-the ground projects.
  3. Use the money in the Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund for critical repairs and to increase pay-as-you-go projects.
  4. Turn Penn Station into a safe, functional transportation hub for commuters as part of a broader plan to modernize our mass transit systems, making them safer, faster, and more efficient. Penn Station has fallen into disrepair and is in desperate need of rebuilding. However, the current plan for Penn Station does not address the dangerously narrow track and platform levels and does not take major steps to decrease delays or increase track capacity.
  5. Build high-speed rail (HSR) across the Northeast, using federal funds to design, build, and administer the project. The first-of-its-kind, bold, forward-thinking project would increase frequency and reliability of travel across the region while fueling economic growth, creating thousands of good-paying union jobs and greatly reducing carbon emissions.

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