In CNY Assembly race, Stirpe touts small business advocacy, Venesky against bail reform
Democratic Assemblyman Al Stirpe is being challenged by former Cicero Town Supervisor Mark Venesky in Tuesday’s election. Stirpe is focused on how he’s helped small businesses during the pandemic. Venesky, a Republican, said the Democrat-led Legislature is not listening to central New Yorkers.
Stirpe is the chair of the Small Business Committee and said they held six public hearings during the pandemic to hear how businesses have been struggling. He said he's been advocating on their behalf.
“Whether its florists, dental offices, gyms, music halls, all sorts of different businesses that have really been hurt by the pandemic,” Stirpe said. “I think we’ve been successful. We’ve moved lots of these forward, even though they have taken longer than most people have wanted.”
Venesky, Stirpe's challenger, said more money from the budget should be allocated to small businesses, law enforcement and the most vulnerable and less towards things like climate change or new equipment. The state is facing a $14.5 billion budget deficit with no sign of help from the federal government.
“These people, including my opponent, are just waiting for the government to wave a magic dollar wand to fix things, and I just don’t think that’s going to happen,” Venesky said.
Stirpe said the state is going to have to wait longer to see if help is coming.
“Then after that, we’re going to have to look at making cuts and raising revenue,” he said.
He gave concrete examples of how to raise revenue. He’s in favor of selling licenses for mobile betting and casinos in New York City, a stock transfer tax, a pied-à-terre tax, and a tax on the super-rich, as long as it expires after two years. Venesky is against taxing the rich more.
“You need to incentivize people to stay here in New York State, not bail out of New York State,” Venesky said.
Venesky is critical of the state budget process, which he said buries in legislation that would not have passed otherwise. He would repeal bail reform, and said taking away judicial discretion to set cash bail is unconscionable. Stirpe admitted they had to make changes to bail reform, but thinks it’s in a good place, now.
The 127th Assembly District covers the eastern part of Onondaga County.