Assemblyman Chris Burdick (D-Bedford) is running for a second term representing 93rd Assembly District which includes the towns of Bedford, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge and part of White Plains.
A longtime resident of Bedford, Burdick had been the city’s first Democratic supervisor in 30 years. Republican Gary Lipson, a military veteran, former IBM employee and White Plains attorney, is challenging Burdick for the seat.
Burdick said the state’s current budget of $220 billion is fiscally sound.
“We made a conservative forecast and the budget includes tax cuts for the middle class earning between $27,000 and $323,000, bringing taxes down to 70-year lows,” Burdick said.
Lipson fears the budget could create a deficit of more than $6 billion over five years.
“If they don’t adjust the budget, the taxpayer will have to make up the difference,” Lipson said. “New Yorkers don’t know where the money is being spent. Republicans were left out of the budget discussion. We need transparency and accountability.
Lipson supports New York’s $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act for Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs, which is on the ballot, but worries about how which will be reimbursed.
“Budget outlays, interest and principal will impact voters 30 years from now when the obligation becomes due,” he said. “Someone is going to have to pay.”
Burdick said the bond is necessary to meet critical infrastructure projects that include drinking water and wastewater.
“These costs would be overwhelming if paid for by local property taxes, but (the bond) will provide significant relief,” Burdick said. “The cost will be quite manageable over the 30-year life of the bond.”
The state’s five-year, $25 billion plan to create 100,000 affordable homes is a start but not enough, Burdick said.
“Creating affordable housing is always a challenge,” he said. “It involves land issues, sewers, septic tanks, access to municipal water. We need to partner with the county, responsible private sector developers and provide incentives for low to moderate income housing construction. »
Lipson said New York needs to be less hostile to businesses that can provide well-paying jobs and make housing affordable.
“New York is the most expensive place to live in this country,” Lipson said.
“Affordable housing can be achieved through collaboration between industry and government. If you don’t welcome new businesses, you crowd out the middle class.
Despite two revisions, the state’s bail law needs further changes, according to Burdick.
“We have two legal systems. One for those who can post bail and another for those who can’t,” Burdick said. “The overwhelming majority of those who cannot make bail are people of color and they could unfairly wait in jail for months until their trial.”
There is often misleading information about the law, he said.
“The crime rate has nothing to do with bail reform,” Burdick said. “Westchester County has a falling crime rate, but we need to look at common sense gun safety legislation to help reduce crime.”
“The cashless bail law was poorly designed,” Lipson said. “A criminal who has been arrested six times for violent crimes has no reason to return to the streets. We need to review district attorney records to see if ADs reduce the severity of crime and free criminals.
Lipson said he has no objection to women getting free abortions in New York.
“I’m not thrilled that the taxpayers of New York are paying for this service,” he said. “I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare. I focus on contraceptive education and promoting adoption.
Burdick recently sponsored the Freedom from Interference with Reproductive and Endocrine Health Advocacy and Travel Exercise (FIRE HATE) law to protect out-of-state women coming to New York for an abortion.
Overhauling school funding is imperative, Lipson said.
“The average cost of education in New York State is over $20,000 per student, double the national average,” he said. “I would ask experts to study where things are failing at the state level.”
Maintaining school taxes and getting more state aid for education is an important issue for Burdick.
“Although the communities of 93rd Assembly District derives significant benefits from state assistance, the current foundation assistance formula may need some adjustment. But the schools in my district provide a great education,” Burdick said.
Lipson said the Democratic majority in both chambers represents a flawed system.
“One-party rule just doesn’t work and the legislature is basically a rubber stamp. There has been a rise in crime and inflation, taxes are out of control and political corruption has increased. We can change that by eliminating the main political party. »
“We need to work across the political spectrum to get things done,” Burdick said. “So many issues aren’t Democrats or Republicans.”