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Letter: McKevitt Responds To Letter

I am responding to Mr. Thomas J. Devaney’s letter in the June 2 issue of the Mineola American. I am proud of the support I have given to the many fine men and women who volunteer their time as firefighters and ambulance workers, by advancing legislation that will promote the recruitment of new members, and by leading the floor debate against legislation, which would cripple their operations. As a matter of fact, the first bill I introduced this session would reduce costs if they need to expand their operations. I have always worked to support them, and I always will.

This legislative session has been by far the most frustrating in my brief time of service.  We are over two months past the April 1 budget deadline, with no end in sight. One party now controls both the governor’s office, and both houses of the Legislature.  Albany is now more dysfunctional than ever. Governor Paterson failed to call a public meeting of the legislative leaders for two months.

The majority leadership in both houses has failed to commence conference committees so we may work toward enacting a budget, in violation of legislation passed in 2007, which requires them. I and my conference have been putting forth proposals that would reform state government and reduce spending so as to benefit all New Yorkers. The majorities have unfortunately chosen to ignore these ideas.

Governor Paterson has also refused to process grants for numerous not-for-profit agencies (see The Wall Street Journal, June 1,) that desperately need money to continue operating.

The lack of a budget has hurt the many citizens in our state.  Hospitals, schools, relief organizations and municipalities are unable to plan for the future because of the uncertainty.  Because there is a no budget, I have not received a paycheck in over two months.  I truly feel the pain that many of our residents are suffering.

In addition, Mr. Devaney’s letter contains several inaccuracies.  He states that I have been in office for six years and that I have sponsored only one piece of legislation that has been signed into law by the governor.  In reality, this is my fifth year in office, and I have been a sponsor of 37 pieces of legislation that have been signed into law.  Mr. Devaney is also my opponent in the upcoming election, a fact that he did not disclose in his letter.

Thomas McKevitt

Assemblyman, 17th District