Unshackle Upstate`


  Central New York voters and business owners have a way to measure the performance of their state lawmakers according to the criteria of a pro-taxpayer, pro-business advocacy organization.  The group Unshackle Upstate is out with its latest scorecard of senators and assemblymembers.  Executive Director Greg Biryla says they release the results every legislative cycle…

"The purpose behind the scorecard is to try to distil the very complex machinations of Albany into an objective analysis of legislators and their performance on issues that we feel through feedback and other means are very critical to the economy, the employer community, and other communities in Upstate New York."

Biryla says their analysis looks at a range of issues.

"The cost of energy, the tax burden, the regulatory burden, unfunded mandates," Biryla said.  "These are all issues thar get voted on in various ways on various bills over two years, and it can be very difficult to keep track.   So we try to provide an easy, handy voter education tool for the public."

In the Syracuse area, republicans including John DeFrancisco in the senate, and Will Barclay and Gary Finch in the assembly all scored an 88.  But democrats like Senator Dave Valesky scored a 68, while Assemblymembers Bill Magnarelli and Al Stirpe scored 37 and 42 respectively.  While the results may seem to favor republicans, Biryla says their focus has always been on lawmakers who support pro-growth policies…and not on party politics.

"Our ultimate goal would be to see everybody regardless of party  score high on these marks," Biryla said. "We think a lot of the bills involving reform on things such as workers compensation, scaffold law, and other regulatory items are very common sense measures that unfortunately have been blocked for a number of years by powerful special interests."

Biryla says the scorecards are also a factor in their endorsement process.  

Here's how lawmakers are graded:

The scorecard grades are comprised of points accumulated or lost based on legislators’ sponsorships and floor votes on bills that Unshackle Upstate either supported or opposed.  A complete list of bills is available here. Votes and sponsorships were divided into four categories and graded with a maximum score of 100:


  New York Residents and businesses could see reductions and rebates on taxes when Governor Andrew Cuomo forms his new budget proposal.  Monday he released details of a rumored $2 billion rebate for property taxpayers...though government leaders at the town, city and county level will have to play ball with Albany to get it for their residents.  


Central New York contractors and business advocacy groups are hoping the approaching new year finally brings reform to a nearly 130-year-old liability law.     "The scaffold law is such an indicator of what we refer to as the old New York."

Brian Sampson is with the pro-taxpayer and economic growth group Unshackle Upstate…