Issues

In the State Assembly, we can count on Ken Zebrowski to fight for all the families and taxpayers of Rockland County. Among other things important to our community, Ken will be a powerful voice for:

Working For The Taxpayer
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Ken Zebrowski gets it. He understands that Rockland County is a great place to live, work and raise your children. However, he also understands that it is getting more difficult for residents to make ends meet. That’s why Ken’s record balances fiscal discipline with protecting our schools and communities.

Assemblyman Zebrowski has fought for a fair income tax code and decreased income tax rates to their lowest in over 65 years. Zebrowski has successfully preserved the STAR property tax exemptions which help middle class families with the high property tax burden. He has been a strong opponent of the MTA payroll tax and in addition to calling for its repeal has successfully fought for exemptions from the tax to schools and small businesses.

In Rockland County and the lower Hudson Valley, property taxes are rising at an unsustainable rate. Ken has advocated for fundamental changes to the property tax system and the way our schools are funded. He supports a wide range of property tax relief proposals including the tax cap and a “circuit breaker” tax cap which caps your property taxes at a percentage of your income. Ken is also working with an upstate Assemblyman on a plan to get the State to pay the baseline cost of education.

Ken continues to fight for Rockland’s fair share of State funding to both provide the best education for our children and to keep local property taxes down. In this year’s budget, Ken advocated for additional school aid funding; bringing an additional $17 million to Rockland schools.

Ken has voted and passed four consecutive on-time budgets which has limited State spending growth. He knows that taxpayer dollars are scarce which is why he has sponsored a bill that calls for an “asset test” on any resident applying for social service benefits to ensure that these funds are not paying for people who have sufficient resources of their own.

Reform, Accountability and Transparency
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In his years in the Assembly, Zebrowski has been a strong supporter of strict ethics standards. He co-sponsored a recent ethics reform bill that restricted the use of campaign funds, mandates disclosure of outside income and sets up an independent agency to investigate misconduct.

He has proposed several ethics reform bills to prevent corrupt politicians from defrauding taxpayers. His package of bills would withhold pay for elected officials who are under indictment for public corruption, expedite trials to ensure justice and prohibit individuals convicted of corruption from running for any state or local office in the future.

Ken doesn’t think elected officials who violate the public’s trust should be able to collect a government pension, which is why he has signed onto legislation that would take away pensions of politicians who have been convicted of corruption charges. He believes in zero tolerance for individuals who use public office to defraud taxpayers and has supported reforms that will do just that.

Education
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Ken has been a vocal advocate for Rockland’s school districts. Year in and year out he tirelessly fights for increased funds and is working on changes to the state education funding formula to protect Rockland. Superintendents, School Board Members and Parents have an open door to the Assemblyman and have worked with Ken to ensure students get the best possible education.

In the 2014 budget, Ken helped steer an additional $1.12 billion to education bringing the total State school aid to over $21.3 billion; the largest investment in New York State history.

Over the past year, Ken has held meetings and forums to listen to the concerns of parents, teachers and administrators on the flawed implementation of the Common Core. He supported sweeping reforms to the Common Core including instituting a moratorium on the use of high stakes tests to evaluate students and teachers, a limit on classroom time spent on test preparation, and banned testing for grades K-2. He also successfully advocated for the termination of the State’s contract with third party data vendor InBloom.

Ken has also been successful in securing grant’s to help Rockland Schools with infrastructure needs and specific funding problems. Ken has secured special assistance for school district debt, sports facility and locker room needs and other special projects.

Healthcare
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Assemblyman Zebrowski has fought to create accessible healthcare options for all New Yorkers. The rising cost of healthcare is a burden on middle class families and small businesses.

Ken has championed the fight against the growing Hepatitis C epidemic by passing the Nation’s first testing law (Chapter 425 of 2013). The law, which went into effect in January 2014, will require doctors to offer a one time Hepatitis C test to baby boomers (persons born between 1945-1965). Hepatitis C disproportionately affects baby boomers with as many as 1 in 30 being infected. This law will help bring more awareness to this “silent” disease by getting more New Yorkers tested and on treatment.

Ken supported legislation this year which will allow severely ill New Yorkers to access medical marijuana for relief. Many New Yorkers who are suffering from a debilitating illness are left with limited treatment options. This new law will provide a safe and proven alternative to suffering patients to live in comfort.

Ken has worked to ensure health insurance companies are playing by the rules. He has introduced legislation, which has passed the Assembly, which would make it illegal for insurance companies to reward their employees based upon the number of claims they deny or policies cancelled. This common sense legislation will protect consumers who have been the victim of unfair insurance practices.

Public Safety
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Ken Zebrowski has been a voice for tough, smart and deterrent policies to combat crime.

Locally he has secured grants for significant programs such as cameras in areas of his district with drug problems.

Ken has sponsored a ban on new substances known as “synthetic marijuana” A.1451-a. These new chemicals mimic the effects of marijuana but are not listed as controlled substances in the penal law. These drugs are dangerous and have led to some adverse effects to individuals who have consumed them.

Assemblyman Zebrowski sponsored Leandra’s Law, which is one of the toughest DWI laws in the nation. This new law makes it a felony to drive drunk with a child under the age of 15 in the car. Leandra’s law also mandates that persons convicted of DWI install ignition interlocks in their vehicles that prevent them from driving if they are intoxicated.

Ken stood with the Governor in supporting a series of bills that aim to combat the growing Heroin epidemic in the State. The legislation will bring public awareness to the problem, increased access to treatment, as well as provide an overdose antidote to law enforcement.

As important as sponsoring and supporting bills that cut down on crime is Ken’s opposition to proposals that hinder police work. Ken has consistently opposed proposals that put bureaucratic obstacles between our police and their ability to effectively combat crime.

Effective Local Representation
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During his tenure in the Assembly, Ken has proven to have the expertise and influence to address Rockland’s unique issues.

Ken has secured numerous grants to assist Rockland’s municipalities and not-for-profits. Grants have gone to such projects as road paving, curbs, playgrounds, water treatment plants, security cameras, recreational facilities and school funding. These grants not only fund essential local projects but take some of the burden off of local property taxes.

Sometimes Rockland need special state legislation or advocacy to address key issues. Ken has proven to have the legislative expertise to get action on unique problems. The following are some examples:

Ken has been a strong opponent of the chicken slaughterhouse project which is proposed location is directly across from a residential neighborhood. He has demanded the State rescind the $1.6 million grant that the project received in 2009 citing the environmental impacts and inappropriate location.

The East Ramapo School District has been mired in controversy and financial problems for several years. These issues have had a negative impact on the quality of education in the district. Ken has taken a strong stance in advocating for the unique needs of the district and has successfully called for the appointment of a fiscal monitor. This newly installed oversight will allow for an open and transparent review of the school district’s operations, policies and finances. Ken has vowed to continue to ensure that East Ramapo students receive the best possible education.

There have been several instances in Rockland municipalities where rampant building code violations have led to dangerous conditions for residents and first responders. Ken has called for an investigation into lack of code enforcement on the local level and has worked with our volunteer firefighters to ensure safe buildings in Rockland.

The Town of Haverstraw and the North Rockland School District have been saddled with millions of dollars in debt and lost tax revenue due to the MIRANT tax certiori and closure of the Lovett Power Plant. Not only has Ken secured millions of dollars in specialized assistance for the school district but he was able to pass legislation that prevented a further unfair shift of taxes onto homeowners.

Environment
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Throughout his service in the Assembly Ken has consistently been ranked as one of the strongest advocates by environmental organizations. As a member of the Environmental Conservation Committee, Zebrowski has been a leader in pushing a bold agenda to protect our environment.

In response to the rampant flooding in Rockland County, Ken recently passed legislation that created the Bi-State Flood Mitigation Task Force. The task force, which will be made up of volunteers from both Rockland and Bergen counties, will study and make recommendations on how to better combat flooding. Water knows no boundaries and this method is designed to approach severe flooding in a coordinated and cooperative manner.

Ken raised serious concerns with the cost, safety and need of the proposed desalination plant in Rockland. He made his opposition to the project clear in public comments and meetings with State leaders. During these meetings, he relayed the concerns of thousands of Rockland residents who are afraid of rising water rates, water quality issues and long term consequences. The Public Service Commission has heard the concerns of Rocklanders and have since delayed the project until 2020.

Ken wants to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to safe drinking water. That’s why he supported safeguards against the potentially dangerous impacts of hydrofracking. If not properly regulated this drilling could have serious environmental consequences. Ken has supported a moratorium on drilling until the Department of Health has successfully completed a study that will provide us with a clear picture of the environmental impacts.

Ken loves taking citizen ideas and turning them into statewide policy. For example, Ken received letters from elementary school children who were concerned about the dangers of pesticides in schools. After reading these concerns from school children, he introduced legislation that will provide for safe pest control practices in schools.