2024 Legislative Program
The Conservative Party, through the years, has offered fiscally sound economic policies to change New York’s course of wasteful government spending. New York was once the beacon of economic success; today New York has become an entity that over-regulates small business, stifles proven energy expansion and increases taxes on its citizens forcing them to seek states that will encourage them to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit thereby ensuring a future for generations to come.
In the last four gubernatorial elections, voters reaffirmed the Conservative Party’s position on Row C and in doing so made the statement that the Conservative Party has been a positive influence in attempting to restore fiscal sanity to New York. Despite the states shrinking population, the Conservative Party has consistently increased the number of votes on our Party line and has regularly garnered more than twice its enrollment. Voters support our philosophy and want it to become law. New York’s spending and taxes are still ranked among the highest in the nation; despite the promises of the Executive Chamber to make New York a better place to live and work. Legislators must end their reckless spending which contributes to the budget deficits and cut the over-regulations preventing small businesses from thriving.
Regrettably, the state, by relying on excessive taxes, surcharges, fees, and fines on corporations and on promises of federal government funding has made New York government believe it is unnecessary to cut spending. This has been enhanced by one-party rule that has been aggravated by a Democrat super majority in the state Senate and Assembly.
Governor Hochul must cut the budget across the board. The legislature must respond to the need for fiscal sanity, by not adding to it. Every agency and program must have significant spending cuts and not depend only on attrition to attain the goal. Every outdated, underutilized program must be eliminated. Neither Medicaid nor School Aid can be excluded from realistic cuts. The Executive Chamber and the Legislature must end its dependency on overtaxing New York’s citizens that has produced a mass exodus of individuals and businesses. The Legislature must enact real change in every aspect of government and begin by eliminating unfunded mandates constraining the counties. The Legislature must adopt term limits and a viable Initiative, Referendum, and Recall bill for all elected officials. New York State must stop masking the true nature of its growing debt through obtusely worded bonding that offers no insight into true costs to the taxpayers.
The NYS Department of Education must root out excessive administrative levels and spending as ways to restore public trust and continue to support more Charter Schools. The years of government programs designed to alleviate economic disparity have only widened the gap; these programs must end. The free competitive market is the judicious way to achieve higher standards of living for everyone. Our Legislative Program seeks to restore a common-sense approach to a legislature that has looked for ways to benefit itself rather than the people it represents. These proposals are concise and must be adopted to reverse New York’s deficit spending and bleak fiscal outlook.
The 2024 Legislative Priorities can be found here:
Adopted January 6, 2024
TAXES AND SPENDING
In order for New York State to keep residents from moving to states with lesser taxes and more economic growth, New York must reconsider its financial structure to lower its debt, provide mandate relief, reconsider regulations that strangle businesses, end the wasteful spending on programs that are doomed to fail and cut spending across the board.
The Senate and Assembly must adopt the following recommendations to lower/eliminate the oppressive taxes forced on the families residing in New York State:
- Requirement of a 2/3 majority vote for any tax increase.
- Adoption of a constitutional amendment that requires the NYS Budget be strictly limited to budget items and not programs that should stand alone for a legislative vote.
- Every effort must be made to eliminate Medicaid fraud and to recover the monies paid on fraudulent claims.
- Repeal the New York Health Act.
- End the practice of increasing fees or “hidden” taxes. While the cap on Medicaid spending was a good beginning, Medicaid must be reformed to decrease spending and not used for any non-health programs. Among some of the reforms Medicaid should adopt is the elimination of programs that are not covered by private insurance carriers.
- Rejection of extending and/or increasing the personal income tax (PIT) on higher income New Yorkers.
- Opposition to the ever increasing MTA mobility taxes.
- We oppose the adoption of any revenue stream that does not include a sunset clause.
- End and repeal all unfunded mandates.
- Adoption of a constitutional amendment limiting any increase of state spending to the rate of inflation or the rate that governs the property taxes, whichever is lower.
- We support a constitutional amendment to reform NYS Bonding. The amendment should include an end to ban back-door borrowing, require listing the total debt expected from the bonding and allow the voters of New York to have more than one bond issue on the ballot.
- Prohibit public authorities from issuing new debt except for capital improvements backed by a stable revenue stream paid directly by the project’s beneficiaries – for example: bridge tolls.
- Further reduction in the state corporate income tax on all businesses in New York, to stimulate more investment and job creation. No adoption of a “circuit-breaker” property tax program.
- Elimination of state income tax on dividend earnings.
- We oppose any effort to reinstate New York’s stock transfer tax.
- Local government entities, such as Fire Districts, Libraries, School Districts, should have voter approval of budgets, prior to contracts becoming effective.
- Local governments should be required to consolidate services and where possible, to eliminate duplication of services.
- Eliminate the New York State estate tax.
- Pension Reform: While it is understood that the New York State Constitution does not allow pension benefits to be “diminished or impaired,” the current defined-benefit pension entitlement must be changed by a Constitutional Amendment to a defined-contribution retirement savings plan when new government employees are hired. Tier VI, did not include “defined-contribution,” which is necessary to curb the future costs to taxpayers.
- Continue job creation through tax reduction by elimination of the Gross Receipts Tax.
- New York State needs to address the out-of-control costs of health care going forward for employees and retirees of public employment agencies.
- Common retirement funds must use free-market principles and not be mandated by government fiat to invest in risky “do good” ideals.
In order to keep our streets safe and conducive to business the Conservative Party recommends:
- We reject any effort to defund law enforcement in every locality within New York State.
- Shoplifting, rampant looting and the destruction of property are being ignored. The Criminal Justice Reforms that helped bring this about must be repealed. All criminals should be subject to prosecution.
- Bail should be denied to defendants charged with commissions of felony crimes of violence. Community, victims and witness’s safety must be considered in bail decisions. The ending of cash bail must be repealed and left to the discretion of Judges.
- Opposition to any efforts to change the way district attorneys prosecute crimes and oppose changing the Grand Jury system.
- District Attorneys who do not uphold their responsibilities to prosecute criminals who have broken laws must be removed from office.
- Rejection of all efforts to create “safe” havens for drug use and rejection of all psychedelic/hallucinogenic mushrooms and related drugs for recreational purposes.
- Law enforcement agencies throughout the state should be required to detain, for purposes of notifying federal authorities, any individual reasonably suspected of being in the U.S. illegally.
- We support law enforcement agencies efforts utilizing all effective law enforcement techniques, such as profiling, surveillance and stop, question and frisk that keeps citizens safe.
- We support legislation that seeks to increase the level of offense when an individual or group specifically targets and/or lures members of law enforcement, firemen, first responders or active military to be physically harmed.
- Citizens shall have the right to protect themselves with legally purchased firearms. Local and State laws should not conflict with federal law in the licensing or permits allowing citizens in good standing to carry firearms, therefore the NY SAFE Act must be repealed.
- Rejection of any unreasonable restrictions placed on the rights of law-abiding citizens to legally acquire and possess firearms, or any other constitutionally-protected means of self-defense, such as electric stun devices.
- Repeal the expanded Red Flag Law.
- We reject the biased examination of social media sites.
- Legislation to end parole for anyone convicted of a violent felony that caused the death of an individual.
- Rejection of any effort to change the state’s double jeopardy protection.
- Repeal legislation that allows convicted felons to serve on jury duty.
- The sealing of criminal records must be repealed.
- We support the restoration of the “Three Strikes Law” that mandates a criminal felony sentence.
- Opposition to Elder Parole, especially when convicted of murdering a police officer under any circumstances.
- The opioid crisis is real and deadly. Narcan is readily available to save lives and every effort must be made to help the addict, but we must also be mindful of politicians who totally blame drug manufacturers using this crisis for political and financial gain.
- Domestic Terrorism exists; there must be strident enforcement of current laws to prevent and punish acts of domestic terrorism, including without limitation, crimes against individuals or religious groups regardless of motivation.
- Restoration of the Death Penalty.
Legislation must be adopted to protect religious institutions from being required to recognize/perform marriages that are not within their traditional definition of marriage. We do not support legislation that seeks to expand the Human Rights Law to include “transgender” as a protected class. We oppose the medical field, schools and/or other government-funded entities from enforcing gender identity in opposition to parent’s wishes. We reject any effort to detain infected individuals and their contacts in a government and/or private facility. We oppose mandated vaccines for Covid and believe any vaccination for communicable diseases should only be done with parental consent. Forensic child custody evaluators should not appear as an “expert witness’ in family court.
PRESERVATION OF LIFE
We believe that New York’s expanded abortion law should be repealed and the legislature should re-adopt the prior statute permitting therapeutic abortions only under the most clearly defined conditions hazardous to the life of the mother. Tax dollars should not be used to prevent or end a pregnancy, nor should they be used for non-residents to travel to NY and pay for their abortion. We oppose the creation of grant programs for abortion providers and non-profits to increase access to abortion care. Elderly, terminally ill, and patients who cannot advocate for themselves should have the full protection of the law to prevent attempts to end their lives prematurely. Terminally ill patients should be provided all palliative care to ease their pain; efforts to have physicians assist their suicide must be rejected. The Conservative Party staunchly believes that all human cloning must be banned and that stem-cell research specifically prohibits the use of progenitor cells and/or pluripotent cells and must be limited to adult stem cells, amniotic fluid, and fetal cord blood research. Unborn victims of violence should be given the full protection of our laws. Efforts must be made to ease adoption laws in New York State so that traditional families can provide a loving home to unwanted or abandoned children. We support expansion of the Safe Haven Law.
The Conservative Party supports parental control of their children’s educational choices and classroom experience. We propose that our state’s voters be offered a state constitutional amendment protecting parent’s rights by stating: “The parents and guardians of students in primary and secondary schools shall have full access to their school’s curriculum and source materials before they are presented to students and shall have the right to participate in their children’s classroom experience. State and local governments may not restrict the formation of charter schools. Crimes committed by students, faculty, or staff, when known by school administrators, must be reported to the local police.”
The Conservative Party opposes any restrictions on homeschooling or the formation of charter schools. Programs, materials, and people that distort the history of our country and the meaning of our Constitution to advance the agenda of CRT/1619/BLM, and other racist ideology, should not be allowed in our schools. State, local and municipal government authorities and districts should be prohibited from infringing on parental rights to oversee their children’s personal and/or sexual identity or other development, including but not limited to, encouraging or acknowledging alternate identification of a minor’s gender, name or other identification. We are opposed to all efforts to eliminate the state Regents exams, (the central guarantee that a NY high school diploma signifies real value.) We firmly support the merit testing of students for admission into specialized high schools. Educational tax credits should be available to parents. We oppose the imposition of Common Core mandates, and judicial interference in our state’s system of educational financing and support. English should be taught as the official language, and bilingual educational programs should be eliminated. Disruptive violent students should be removed and placed in alternative programs. Teachers and school administrators who act in a seriously inappropriate and/or unprofessional manner must not be protected by tenure and be subjected to revocation of tenure or dismissal upon review. School districts that decide to permit school personnel to have access to firearms should be provided training and support by state and local law enforcement. We support a temporary State Commission to recommend school mergers wherever the population of school-age children appears to be in permanent decline.
We must stop the erratic issuance of unconstitutional dictates that has destroyed thousands of small businesses. A devastated economy will setback all New Yorkers for decades to come. We must reestablish a climate that is business friendly, and eliminate burdensome taxes and regulations that prevent society’s entrepreneurial spirit from soaring, including congestion pricing. Businesses must be allowed to conduct their business in an atmosphere that lets the free-market dictate what is best for it as long as the business is not promoting substances that are illegal or promoting illegal behavior. We support reasonable ways – financially sustainable — to protect our planet, however, we are opposed to mandating private industry converting from fossil fuel directly to heating devices with electricity. We support the repeal of the mandated “Wicks Law” and the Scaffold Law that adds to construction costs. Companies should be allowed to hire the best-qualified person without fear of breaching hiring quotas. The free market must determine wages, not the government. We call for a special student rate to be adopted for small businesses to utilize. We oppose living wage legislation. Employees must be held responsible if they contribute to their own injuries. Tort reform, including the expansion of sanctions for bringing frivolous lawsuits, is essential to encourage the free flow of business in New York State, and meaningful workers compensation reform is vital. We support repealing the requirement that any new LLC or LLP publish notices for 6 weeks in 2 different newspapers. We support a constitutional amendment that would specifically define “eminent domain” to prohibit takings for economic development purposes and limit takings for true public purposes. Hydrofracking, with proper environmental safeguards, should be permitted in the state. The “Paid Family Leave” requirement adopted in 2017, is unreasonable and unsustainable, and should be repealed. We do not support the proposed Transportation Climate Initiative that would artificially raise the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel. We are firmly opposed to the acquisition of real property by foreign countries and entities of particular concern as identified by the United States Department of State.
The free market, not government controls, is the only way to have quality affordable housing. The recently enacted expansion of rent regulations throughout New York State only exacerbates the housing shortages and forces landlords to abandon and/or not do necessary repairs due to the inability to recoup the funds to provide the necessary repairs. Government policies that interfered with the ability of real estate to generate income must not result in the socialist seizure of private property. We oppose any state efforts to eliminate local zoning. We oppose government mandating how new and existing construction will be, over time, forced to replace fossil fuel heating devices with electricity. The state and local governments should be prohibited from interference in contracts between property owners and tenants. We are opposed to any state effort to adopt NYC’s requirement of a “good cause” eviction measure.
New York State must adopt the strictest legal reforms and work requirements, give control to the local counties to set limits for the amount of payment, allow for 100% sanctions if the public assistance work rules are not adhered to, require full restitution if fraud is used to obtain benefits, and firmly establish that each recipient is in our country legally. We support the requirement of drug testing and fingerprinting all who apply for government benefits and reject the use of taxpayer money to reach out for new recipients.
New York State continues to systematically release prisoners to balance their budgets and close prisons. We believe that is not in the best interest of keeping our citizens safe. Government’s role is to protect its citizens from those who have harmed or continue to harm individuals. Prisoners should have to work toward reentry into society. Every reasonable effort must be made to ensure that people who are held in jail are given a speedy trial to determine their guilt or innocence and that discovery must include all the legally obtained information and be provided within a reasonable amount of time, (currently 20 days if in custody and 35 days when not in custody) which could ultimately allow the release of the suspected criminal on this technicality. Prisons should be used to prepare the inmate for release by encouraging them to work and learn how to manage their lives while incarcerated.
Union members’ First Amendment right of freedom of speech and assembly should be reaffirmed and be protected against arbitrary disciplinary actions. New York State should be a right to work state. We support strengthening the Taylor Law and the repeal of the Triborough Amendment, and are strongly opposed to attempts to allow mediators to declare that officials are bargaining in bad faith. We support limiting pay raises from binding arbitration to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is higher. Since the US Supreme Court struck down Agency Shop, government unions should not be able to prevent public employees from opting out. Efforts to regulate Gig workers must be rejected. Efforts to expand the public works subjected to prevailing wage laws must be rejected and/or repealed. We support the agricultural community’s efforts to protect small farm-operated agro-businesses from state efforts to increase labor costs to the point where they would be put out of business.
CONSERVATION, RECREATION AND ECOLOGY
The unreasonable and massive taking of private lands by state and local government must end.
Institutions of higher education must be required to adhere to the constitutional right of guaranteed free speech. We oppose taxpayer support of higher education that does not permit free and open discussion of diverse perspectives and may create a hostile environment for students and educators. The Conservative Party continues to oppose any legislation that provides “free” college education, while acknowledging that the cost of higher education is far too expensive. “Free” community college or universities are even more costly to taxpayers. We support initiatives that reduce the ever-increasing cost of higher education, for example on-line classes to lower the cost. We oppose any state or federal effort to eliminate student debt. While we sympathize with the plight of Dreamers, the New York State “Dream Act” should be repealed as it rewards the illegal activity of their parents while legal residents of New York are disadvantaged. Any student enrolled in our higher education system must be able to prove that they are in our country legally and that any visa used to enter our Country has not expired. The Conservative Party believes that higher admission standards will restore our public institutions of higher learning to their former greatness and we continue to oppose open enrollment. Requiring anti-bias training for every person in the medical field will change the focus from treating the immediate illness to focusing more on the cause.
The Members of the Legislature must never abdicate their responsibility to the Executive Chamber and allow decisions to be made by Executive Order. The members must maintain their constitutional authority as an equal branch of government. Members must be present to vote. Debates should be unlimited members. Members must enact a permanent ban on all legislative “member” items. If a budget is not enacted by March 31, no action should be taken on any other bills, with the exception of legislation necessary for public safety. Once a budget is adopted, all other business should be concluded within 30 days. Budget Bills must only include items that are directly related to keeping the budget in sound fiscal health. Legislative members should not be full time and should be allowed to continue their outside careers to realize the impact of the bills they pass. No taxpayer funds should be used to pay for any public official’s sexual harassment or misconduct, nor should there be any non-disclosure agreements, however, caution must be used to protect the identity of the victim. Legislative members should be restricted from enacting laws that allow them to benefit financially.
GOVERNMENT AND ETHICS
As the previous JCOPE was flawed and eventually disbanded, the new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government is still flawed. Legislative leaders make nominations, however, the law created an “Independent Review Committee” comprised of the Deans of the 15 NYS law schools to determine whether or not nominees should be confirmed for appointment. The citizens of New York require a truly independent commission to oversee both the Executive and Legislative branches of government.
The 2023 Legislature passed, and the governor signed legislation, which requires local elections, outside of cities, to be held in even years; this must be repealed. Term limits for all elected officials must be enacted, with no more than 8 years in each house and two four-year terms for statewide officials. Any attempt to overturn the will of the voters who overwhelmingly rejected same day voter registration and no excuse absentee voting in New York State is strongly opposed by the Conservative Party and must be opposed by the Members of the Legislature. Only US citizens should be allowed to vote; we are strongly opposed to non-citizens voting. Secure photo identification, confirming the US citizenship of the voter – a driver’s license is no longer a valid photo identification — should be required and presented to the poll inspectors before voting, as well as when first registering to vote. New Yorkers should not be made to finance political campaigns they do not support and therefore campaign financing must be repealed. American’s government is of the people, for the people, and by the people; when representatives ignore the will of the people, citizens should be allowed to have Initiative, Referendum, and Recall. Direct election of all judges, for shorter terms, should be required. Elected judges should be assigned to the court for which they were elected and in the jurisdiction from which they were elected. Candidates for political office should not accept campaign contributions from sovereign entities not bound by, or that violate, the laws and regulations of the New York State Board of Elections. Existing federal law regarding Super PAC’s is sufficient. We support efforts that result in apolitical Boards of Elections. The Conservative Party opposes any effort to diminish the power of those enrolled in a political party by denying them the ability to control their own party. We support adoption of a Constitutional Amendment establishing a requirement that the Governor call special elections within a certain statutory calendar. Felons should be disqualified to voting prior to the completion of their sentence. Any voter can only be registered where they maintain their full-time residence.
New York State, since the earliest days of our Nation, has been a beacon to people coming to America. Today, we welcome those who come to our state – legally. While we welcome all who come to our shores, we insist that our government services must be limited to those who are here legally. Government service providers should require secure proof, again a NYS driver’s license is not proof, that people who receive government services are here legally. Additionally, all government forms should be available on paper and printed in English only. Citizens who vote should vote in English. As we stated, we recognize the wonderful contributions immigrants have made to America, but we also recognize that immigrants have made these contributions, by communicating in the English language and assimilating to American customs. People who have entered our country and state illegally should not be provided drivers’ licenses and if they have obtained one, it should be revoked, nor any other government professional licenses and identification forms. New York State government should require all law enforcement agencies to hold for federal law enforcement officials any person in our state illegally and prohibit any state or municipality from becoming a sanctuary government.
RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE IN PUBLIC LIFE
Legislation must be adopted to protect private citizens and faith-based entities from being forced to participate in activities that violate their religious convictions. Any entity (i.e. Chick-fil-A) who enters into a contract with New York State, or any government entity, shall not, during the contract period, have their contract suspended as a result of freedom of religion and/or religious worship being raised as an issue. The values of our faiths and the Judeo-Christian moral code are under assault. Congress and the Legislature open each Session with a prayer. Why then, do we deny that very same privilege to tomorrow’s leaders in public school classes and functions? The Founding Fathers debated what they hoped to be the values of this new nation and chose as the very first line of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” They knew the importance of religion in our daily lives and specifically denied government choosing which religion should be practiced yet emphasized that government could not stop people from practicing their religion of choice. Therefore, we urge the legitimization of the traditionally accepted role of nonsectarian religious observance in our public schools, through a proposal by the New York State Legislature, of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, making it clear that non-denominational, non-coercive prayer in public schools shall not be prohibited; and that individual or group religious observance or activity shall not be prohibited, infringed, or discriminated against through refusal of reasonable accommodation or by any other form of disparate treatment. We oppose imposing non-religious values on religious people and institutions. Religious values should be defended from attack by politicians, while our civil and criminal laws must apply to all citizens equally, without interpretations that suit individual religions. We are opposed to another extension of the Child Victims Act.
The Conservative Party believes that just as the Legislative Branch of government should eliminate all legislative member items, the Executive Branch must eliminate “executive” items also. The disbursement of economic development council grants and tax credits to localities creates unjust favoritism with taxpayers’ funds to businesses that are vulnerable to competing on a level playing field. We oppose efforts by the Governor and Legislature to create Commissions that possesses the authority to make state law.
Download the PDF version here: 2024 Legislative Platform final