While I was glad to see Sen. James Seward’s support for much-needed ride-sharing services in upstate New York, I am hoping that Sen. Seward will demonstrate that he understands the economic realities of communities like ours by backing two additional measures.

First, Sen. Seward could help our area by supporting the extension of the millionaire’s tax and securing the $4 billion in revenue it generates to help reduce the tax burden on the many middle-income New Yorkers that live in our area. This would be a popular move as 57 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of upstate residents support extending the millionaire’s tax, according to a recent Siena Poll. Failure to do so will mean the loss of programs that benefit low- and middle-income New Yorkers and likely tax increases for those that can least afford them.

Second, as a member of the Senate Health Committee and a Republican in a relatively safe seat, Sen. Seward is in a unique position to help guarantee New Yorkers’ health coverage. In the counties that make up New York’s 51st Senate District, ACA repeal has the potential to leave nearly 75,000 of us — including my family — without affordable health insurance.

Sen. Seward could take bold steps to protect his constituents by crossing party lines and supporting the Senate Democrats’ plan to protect the NYS Health Exchange while moving toward a single-payer health system in our state.

After reading the 123-page Republican replacement to the ACA, it is clear that it will take strong action by the state Legislature and Republicans like Senator Seward to lead their conference and support legislation to keep communities like ours financially and physically healthy.

Leslie Berliant


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