Julie Killian Continues Her Quest to Remake Albany
By Tom McDermott and Robin Jovanovich
Those who still follow the “paper of record” could be forgiven for thinking that the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s elections in New York concluded on September 13, when the Democrats held their primary. Both before and since that date, election stories have all but ignored the fact that Republican Marc Molinaro, Dutchess County Executive, is running against incumbent Andrew Cuomo, who resides in Westchester when not in Albany.
A recent Siena College poll put Cuomo about 20 points ahead, and the Republican campaign is exponentially behind in money raised.
Molinaro’s running mate in the race for Lt. Governor, Julie Killian of Rye, stopped by this Record’s offices last week to share her thoughts on the campaign and the state of the State. When we last caught up with her she was in a primary contest against Shelley Meyer for George Latimer’s State Senate seat – for the second time–, which Meyer won.
We began by asking her what she’s heard from voters. “I’ve been upstate predominantly, in big and small towns; seen businesses, crop farms, stores, manufacturers. What I see on the ground is not what I see in newspapers. Killian said people, especially business owners, talk about their unhappiness with government. “They talk about the increasing unaffordability of New York, the corruption and the tax dollars wasted. Many people are really struggling.”
The candidate, whose opponent is incumbent Kathy Hochul, acknowledges that business has improved, but says New York is not keeping pace with other states. “At the federal level, business has never been better, but there are pockets left behind.” She pointed to places where connectivity is a big issue. “I met a woman who wanted her son to go to MIT. They have to search for a place with Wi-Fi. “The State’s broadband plan has not worked,” said Killian.
The candidate says she and Molinaro want to simplify things, cut regulations. “I was just in Allegheny. It’s really hard to find teachers there, as it is elsewhere. There is increased criteria for certification that holds people back. It sounds like a good thing but it is a big issue.” According to Killian, a coding class requires a specialist, not a Math teacher who also covers coding. She mentions Alfred State which has a high rate of placing students as teachers but is having a hard time finding students.
“We are not training enough skilled workers. Public assistance is the biggest competitor,” said Killian.
Molinaro has made an Empire State Freedom Plan a critical part of the platform. He and Killian propose a combination of cost avoidance and tax savings they claim would provide $13 billion in annual property tax savings. They want an extension of the tax cap beyond 2020, but also call for reform of the unfunded mandate system.
Killian and Molinaro want the State to absorb the cost of Medicaid over ten years. Currently most of the burden falls on counties. They want a “dollar-for-dollar” exchange so that the State does not simply raise other taxes to make up the difference. They want to get rid of the Scaffold and Wicks laws, both of which add significantly to construction costs. They point out that the Prevailing Wage rate in New York kicks in when 30 percent of employees are unionized as opposed to 50 percent elsewhere.
“There are regulations piled on regulations. We lose revenue because of that,” said Killian.
When asked if she would be in favor of opening up shale extraction in the Southern Tier so that the state did not have to purchase fracked gas from other states, Killian said she, like her running mate, is in favor of a pilot program. “No one has come up with a replacement for Indian Point. Where are we going to get our power from?” She noted that because New York hasn’t allowed pipelines to go through the state, Massachusetts has had to buy power from Russia.
What three things would she do if elected? Killian answered: 1) Eliminate the Scaffold Law; 2) Reform medical malpractice; 3) Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit which helps more than a higher minimum wage.
In closing, Killian offered, “We have a governor who doesn’t believe in America. Further, we’ve had eight years of high taxes, poor roads, crumbling infrastructure, and businesses and people leaving. My running mate is the epitome of the American dream. In Dutchess County he’s done things, cut regulations while adding services.”