The office of Joe Robach announced an agreement on the 2016-17 state budget today. According to Joe Robach office, the budget holds the growth in state spending to two percent for the sixth consecutive year, continuing to reverse a decades-long trend where state spending outpaced the rate of inflation or personal incomes.

The budget also includes a number of landmark policies that will strengthen opportunity for working and middle class families and a record $24.8 billion in education aid. The budget will also grow the economy with a $4.2 billion middle class tax cut when fully effective and critical statewide infrastructure investments – including a new $55 billion State Transportation Plan that commits $27.14 billion for Department of Transportation and Thruway programs and $27.98 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The budget agreement includes spending in the following categories:

· Total State Operating Funds: $96.2 billion; 2.0 percent growth
· School Aid: $24.8 billion; 6.5 percent growth
· Medicaid: $18.5 billion; 3.4 percent growth under the cap
· Higher Education: $7.2 billion; 2.0 percent growth

Joe Robach office also noted other details on some of the most significant parts of the budget, which include:

Minimum Wage
· For workers in New York City employed by large businesses (those with at least 11 employees), the minimum wage would rise to $11 at the end of 2016, then another $2 each year after, reaching $15 on 12/31/2018.
· For workers in New York City employed by small businesses (those with 10 employees or fewer), the minimum wage would rise to $10.50 by the end of 2016, then another $1.50 each year after, reaching $15 on 12/31/2019.
· For workers in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties, the minimum wage would increase to $10 at the end of 2016, then $1 each year after, reaching $15 on 12/31/2021.
· For workers in the rest of the state, the minimum wage would increase to $9.70 at the end of 2016, then another .70 each year after until reaching $12.50 on 12/31/2020 – after which will continue to increase to $15 on an indexed schedule to be set by the Director of the Division of Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor.

It is estimated that more than 2.3 million people will be affected by the increases in the minimum wage.

Paid Family Leave
The budget agreement includes the longest and most comprehensive paid family leave program in the nation. When fully phased- in, employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid family leave when caring for an infant, a family member with a serious health condition or to relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service. Benefits will be phased-in beginning in 2018 at 50 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage, capped to 50 percent of the statewide average weekly wage, and fully implemented in 2021 at 67 percent of their average weekly wage, capped to 67 percent of the statewide average weekly wage. This program will be funded entirely through a nominal payroll deduction on employees so it costs businesses – both big and small – nothing. Employees are eligible to participate after having worked for their employer for six months.

Middle Class Tax Cut
The budget lowers Personal Income Tax rates for middle class New Yorkers. With the middle class tax cuts of 2012, rates were lowered from 6.85 percent to 6.45 percent for taxpayers in the $40,000-$150,000 income bracket, and to 6.65 percent in the $150,000-$300,000 income bracket. Under these new reforms, the rate will drop even further beginning in 2018 and will continue to drop all the way to 5.5 percent when the cuts are fully phased in.

These new lower tax rates will save middle class New Yorkers nearly $6.6 billion in just the first four years, with annual savings reaching $4.2 billion by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the state’s lowest middle class tax rates in more than 70 years. When the tax cuts begin, they will benefit 4.4 million filers, growing to 6 million filers when fully phased in.

Support for Schools and Education

The budget provides $24.8 billion in School Aid, the highest amount ever, and $5.3 billion more than 2011-12. While total state spending has been held to two percent annual growth and most state agency budgets have been held essentially flat, School Aid is increasing by 6.5 percent for the 2016-17 School Year and will have increased by nearly 27 percent since 2011-12. The increases of the last five years are as follows:

· 2011-12 School Aid: $19.64 billion
· 2012-13 School Aid: $20.35 billion ($805 million increase, 4.1 percent)
· 2013-14 School Aid: $21.23 billion ($992 million increase, 4.9 percent)
· 2014-15 School Aid: $22.24 billion ($1.13 billion increase, 5.3 percent)
· 2015-16 School Aid: $23.5 billion ($1.35 billion increase, 6.1 percent)
· 2016-17 School Aid: $24.8 billion ($1.5 billion increase, 6.5 percent)

School Aid supports almost 700 school districts, and 2.8 million students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. New York schools already spend more per pupil than any state in the nation, at an average of $19,818, almost double the national average of $10,700.

In addition to traditional School Aid, the budget maintains $340 million in annual funding for the Statewide Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten program and continues the $2 billion Smart Schools program. The Budget fully eliminates the outstanding $434 million Gap Elimination Adjustment. Foundation Aid is increased by $627 million (four percent).

Community Schools: The budget also includes $175 million in funding to transform failing schools and other high needs schools into community schools. This will help ensure that issues of poverty can be addressed with communities working together to ensure that every student is prepared, safe, healthy and ready to learn. This investment is critical to providing students early opportunities to build positive future and breaking the trend of higher crime rates among underserved youth.

Charters: The Budget increases support for charter schools statewide by an estimated $430 per pupil to allow these schools to continue to innovate, recruit high-quality teachers and staff, and provide a strong educational option for students and families. The budget makes permanent the calculation of rental aid for New York City charter schools.

Infrastructure Spending
The budget contains the largest state transportation plan ever approved, with over $55 billion of transportation investments statewide, including $27.14 billion for State Department of Transportation and Thruway programs and $27.98 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority programs. The plan aligns capital programming for DOT and MTA over a 5-year period (SFY 2016-20) and includes additional commitments for priority projects and programs that extend over a sixth year.

· The $27 billion DOT capital program includes: $21.1 billion for capital improvement of highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit, and DOT facilities throughout the state. This includes the launch of three new initiatives – BRIDGE NY, PAVE NY, and the Extreme Weather Infrastructure Hardening Program to further improve conditions on state and local roads and bridges, as well as provide resiliency to roadways that are particularly susceptible to weather events. It also includes $4 billion for capital investment for a sixth year, and $2 billion in Thruway Stabilization funding that will support capital improvements on the entire Thruway system and the New New York Bridge, allowing the Authority to freeze tolls on the system until at least 2020.

· The $27 billion MTA Capital Program includes: $26.6 billion for improvement of capital facilities operated by the New York City Transit Authority, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and MTA Bus and major initiatives including $1.5 billion for Phase II of the Second Avenue Subway. Specifically, the budget authorizes a record $8.3 billion of State support for the program.


This week the office of Joe Robach announced that beginning March 27, all prescriptions written in New York State must now be transmitted electronically from the prescriber directly to the pharmacy. This requirement is a key component of New York’s I-STOP initiative that is focused on helping curb the abuse of prescription medication throughout the state.

As of March 27, prescriptions will no longer be handwritten or called in to the pharmacy, except in limited situations such as during disasters, technological or electrical failures, and other exceptional circumstances. In exceptional circumstances requiring written prescriptions, prescribers must still use Official New York State Prescription forms and document the reason for use of the paper script each time. Prescribers with waivers are exceptions to the e-prescribe mandate. Patients seeking the best prices for their medications can still comparison-shop before asking their doctor to send their prescriptions to their preferred pharmacy.

More than 60,000 prescribers are already e-prescribing and prescribers continue to register their certified software with the New York State Department of Health. Understanding that extra time was needed for some to make the switch from paper to electronic, legislation was signed in March 2015 granting a one-year extension for these prescribers to comply with the requirement.

Joe Robach office described that the I-STOP requires prescribers to consult the Prescription Monitoring Program Registry when writing prescriptions for Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances. The Registry provides practitioners with direct, secure access to view dispensed controlled substance prescription histories for patients in real time. It is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week via an application on the Health Commerce System. The data is further used to identify potential sources of prescription drug diversion or abuse, including prescription fraud. As of the end of 2015, I-STOP has led to a 90 percent decrease in the number of “doctor shoppers” or patients who visit multiple prescribers and pharmacies to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances within a three-month time period.

Joe Robach noted that patients with questions about e-prescriptions can access information here: or they may call his Albany or district office for more information.


The office of Joe Robach this week reminded residents that they must register to vote by March 25 in order to cast ballots in the upcoming presidential primaries on April 19. New Yorkers looking to register to vote, or to change their enrollment information, can do so easily by using the state’s online voter registration service on the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles’ website. Since the roll out of this system in 2012, more than 256,600 New Yorkers – 80,500 of which were registering for the first time – have registered to vote using the automated online system, MyDMV.

Joe Robach office notes that by following a few simple steps, residents can easily sign up for a secure MyDMV account and register to vote or access a variety of other services like updating party enrollment or a home address. To create an account, individuals must use their New York State driver license, permit or non-driver ID, last four digits of their Social Security Number, and the ZIP code currently listed on their driver license, permit or non-driver ID record. Upon completion, DMV sends the voter registration applications to the County Board of Elections for action. New Yorkers can use the New York State Board of Elections’ website to check their voter registration status.

To register to vote, a New Yorker must:

•Be a United States citizen.
•Be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which you submit the form (note: you must be 18 years old by the date of the general, primary or other election in which you want to vote).
•Live at your present address at least 30 days before an election.
•Not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.
•Not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court.
•Not claim the right to vote elsewhere.

Joe Robach suggested that residents seeking more information or looking to register locally to call or visit the Monroe County Board of Election office.


This week the office of Joe Robach announced that March is Women’s History Month in New York State and announced the opening of a new exhibit at the State Capitol which celebrates and recognizes the contributions of women attorneys to culture and society. Additionally, details about the New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission were announced. The commission is responsible for a series of statewide programs that celebrate the accomplishment of women’s suffrage and the central role of New Yorkers and New York State in this milestone.

Joe Robach and other representatives who hold elected office across New York State join in this annual celebration of Women’s History Month in honor of the visionaries on whose shoulders we now stand. This even encourages everyone to learn about and be inspired by the women who charted new courses and shattered ceilings, making the world a better place for generations to come.

Women’s History Month was first formally observed in March 1987 and honors women whose contributions to society have helped shape history. The exhibit, Women Attorney Trailblazers in New York State, was organized and sponsored by the New York State Bar Association Committee on Women in the Law. It acknowledges the important work of ten New York attorneys who serve as role models and have paved the way for women in the legal field.

According to the Bar Association, women began gaining admission to state bars in the late 19th century, but still faced widespread discrimination through the 1960s and 1970s, when they were turned away from law firms or only offered jobs as librarians or secretaries. Applicants were also told that the quota for hiring women was filled, or that clients would be uncomfortable with a woman attorney. Still, the women featured in the exhibit and many others stood up against such bias, and their tenacity continues to teach young women that they can achieve their goals.

The women featured in the Women Attorney Trailblazers exhibit include:
•Kate Stoneman, the first woman admitted to practice law in New York.
•Mary M. Lilly, the first woman attorney elected to the New York State Legislature.
•Jane Matilda Bolin, the first African-American woman judge in the United States.
•Florence Perlow Shientag, the first woman federal prosecutor in New York.
•Charlotte Smallwood-Cook, the first woman district attorney in New York.
•Shirley Adelson Siegel, who headed the state’s first Civil Rights Bureau in the Office of the New York State Attorney General.
•Constance Baker Motley, a key civil rights lawyer and first African-American woman federal judge.
•Maryann Saccomando Freedman, the first woman president of the New York State Bar Association.
•Geraldine Anne Ferraro, a U.S. Congresswoman and the first woman nominated for vice president by a major party.
•Judith S. Kaye, the first woman appointed to the New York Court of Appeals, and first woman Chief Judge of the State of New York.

The exhibit will be on display in the War Room of the New York State Capitol in Albany for the month of March.

In October, multiple pieces of legislation were signed into law that are designed to protect and further women’s equality in New York State. The new laws will help achieve pay equity, strengthen human trafficking laws and protections for domestic violence victims, and end pregnancy discrimination in all workplaces.

Joe Robach office invite all New York residents and visitors alike to learn about New York women and their impact on the state and on the nation via New York’s Path Through History initiative.


The office of Joe Robach announced this week that they are once again sponsoring a FREE electronics recycling event. In conjunction with Time Warner Cable, Sunnking Electronics, Monroe County and Waste Management, this recycling event is completely free and open to the public.

When: Sunday, February 28, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: Monroe County Ecopark
10 Avion Drive
Rochester, NY 14624

Acceptable Items include:
Cell phones
Video game consoles
DVD Players
MP3 Players
And much more!

*Refrigerators and household appliances containing freon will not be accepted.

Why is ERecycling important?

Unwanted computers, monitors and TVs – referred to as electronic waste or “e-waste” – is the fastest growing waste stream in the U.S. With technology constantly changing, we replace our electronics every few years. In 2007 alone, Americans generated about 232 million units of computer and TV-related e-waste, only 18 percent of which was recycled. In addition, it’s estimated that 235 million more units are stored in our basements, closets and garages. ERecycling is a better option than disposal because is conserves natural resources. Electronics contain valuable materials – including copper, gold and aluminum – that can be recycled and used in new products. Recycling these materials prevents the need to extract virgin materials, conserving natural resources.

The office Joe Robach encourages everyone to take advantage of this great event. This is an easy and free way to properly dispose of any old electronics you may have around your home, while helping to protect our environment for future generations.

For more information visit Joe Robach’s website or visit Sunnking Electronics at for a list of how items are handled and other details related to the processing of these electronics in the recycling process. Constituents may also call the local district office of Joe Robach with questions.

Office of Joe Robach Announces 8th Annual Women’s Wellness Fair

On Saturday, September 12th, Joe Robach will be hosting his Eighth Annual Women’s Wellness Fair at the Greece Ridge Mall. The event will provide an opportunity for organizations throughout the Rochester area to disperse a wide variety of information to women about their health, fitness and overall wellness.

Some of the organizations participating include the Child Care Council, Breast Cancer Coalition, Willow Domestic Violence Center, Rite Aid, Bivona Child Advocacy Center, Northwest AARP, Gilda’s Club, COSTCO, Rochester Brain & Spine, The Legacy at Park Crescent, The Legal Aid Society of Rochester and Erna’s Hope. Visitors may obtain an array of free information and services including; free educational brochures, cholesterol and glucose screenings, flu shots, blood pressure checks, body fat testing and more.

In a press release issued by his office, Joe Robach said, “I am happy to once again host the Women’s Wellness Fair and partner with local organizations to offer beneficial information for women and families in our community. The resources available at this event will help educate the public on various ways to improve their personal health and well-being.”

What: Joe Robach’s Eighth Annual Women’s Wellness Fair

When: Saturday, September 12, 2015

Where: The Mall at Greece Ridge, 271 Greece Ridge Center Dive, Rochester, 14626

Location: Entrance #9 (located to the left of the main carousel/food court entrance)

Time: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m

For more information or any questions, please contact the office of Joe Robach at 585.225.3650.


This week the office of Joe Robach announced a crackdown on underage drinking and fake identification documents at summer concerts and other underage hotspots, which will last through Labor Day weekend. The enforcement will occur unannounced at various concert venues and places where young adults congregate across the state, and will be carried out by the Department of Motor Vehicles’ Division of Field Investigation in partnership with law enforcement agencies.

“Underage drinking is a serious matter,” Joe Robach said in a press release issued by his office. “The bad decisions that follow can have devastating and life-altering consequences. We can help to minimize the damage by by targeting fake IDs and increasing enforcement at concerts. By doing this we will help avoid needless tragedy and will send the message that this reckless behavior just isn’t worth it.”

DMV will be checking the identity documents of people seeking to purchase alcohol at events statewide. Anyone in possession of a fraudulent ID will be arrested and their fake identity documents will be confiscated. Individuals who are arrested face administrative action that normally results in a suspension of their license for a minimum of 90 days.

The announcement of this crackdown follow a Rascal Flatts show at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, which resulted in the arrest of 20 concertgoers and the confiscation of seven IDs: one each from Maryland, Michigan, and Ohio; two from Pennsylvania; and two from within New York State. Similar DMV enforcement actions this summer include, but are not limited to:

Venue Date Show Arrests
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) August 16 Brantley Gilbert 12
Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC) July 8 Kenny Chesney 21
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) July 3 Dave Matthews Band 20
Darien Lake Performing Arts Center/
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC)
June 18/
June 23
Fall Out Boy 113
Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) May 31 Lady Antebellum 21

Enforcement actions are supported by the Traffic Safety Committee to deter minors from abusing alcohol and driving while impaired. The legal drinking age in New York State is 21. The Traffic Safety Committee is also targeting drunk and impaired drivers with its 20-day Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which runs until Labor Day. Joe Robach office also noted that the enforcement and education period is aimed at significantly reducing deaths and injuries caused by motorists driving drunk or impaired by drugs.


This week the office of Joe Robach issued a warning to college students returning for the fall semester that purchasing fake IDs is not only illegal, but also increases the chance of becoming a victim of identify fraud. In recent years, investigators from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles have found dozens of examples of underage license holders becoming victims of identity theft after purchasing fraudulent identification online from overseas companies.

“It’s just not worth it — both for the immediate consequences of getting caught with a fake ID and for putting their financial future at risk.” Joe Robach said in a press release issued by his office earlier this week.

Using only a victim’s name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth, criminals can repeatedly open new lines of credit, take money from bank and retirement accounts, get a job, file false tax returns, and even seek medical attention, making it extremely difficult for a victim to recover his or her own records, name, and life.

According to the 2014 Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, 18 percent of identity theft victims were ages 20 to 29; about six percent of victims were 19 years old or younger. These age groups are less likely to regularly track bank account and credit card activity, pay for identity theft monitoring services, and use discretion when sharing information on social media, making them more susceptible to identity theft than any other age group.

Through targeted enforcement actions with a variety of law enforcement entities, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles arrests hundreds of people under the age of 21 for possession of false documents each year. Dozens of these individuals have since reported falling victim to identity theft. At one concert last year, 15 people were arrested by Department of Motor Vehicles investigators for possessing fake IDs and three of them later reported that their identities had been compromised. Investigators report that counterfeiters obtain duplicate social security cards, birth certificates, and credit cards, as well as acquire fake licenses through information submitted over the internet.

Most of the people arrested for fraudulent driver licenses or identification cards purchase these documents over the internet from overseas companies. For more than a decade, the Department of Motor Vehicles and its partners in federal and state law enforcement agencies have worked together to crack down on counterfeiters by identifying sources and shutting down their operations, including, most recently, the ID Chief website. The Department of Motor Vehicles continues to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to shut down the operations of many of the companies who have since tried to fill that void.

Joe Robach’s office also noted that identity theft topped the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer complaint categories for the 15th consecutive year in 2014. Nearly 16,000 identity theft complaints across all age groups were logged last year in New York State.


This week the office of Joe Robach announced that the New York State Police will be ramping up enforcement efforts as part of a national crackdown on impaired driving. The 20-day campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, runs from Aug. 21 to Sept. 7 (Labor Day) and is aimed at significantly reducing deaths and injuries caused by motorists driving drunk or impaired by drugs. The New York State Police, together with the important work of local law enforcement, will be vigilant in screening for impaired drivers.

The Traffic Safety Committee 2014 annual report found that while the number of alcohol-related crash injuries were down in New York State by nearly 800 over a five-year period starting in 2009, 364 people were killed in such crashes in 2013 and about 30 percent of New York’s crash fatalities are alcohol-related. Additionally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,076 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher 2013.

According to Joe Robach office, In New York State, .08 percent BAC is the legal threshold for driving while intoxicated, but many offenders are arrested at nearly twice that level: statewide, the average BAC of those arrested for alcohol-impaired driving is more than .14. Alcohol, however, is just one substance contributing to traffic fatalities. Drugs other than alcohol, such as marijuana and cocaine, are a factor in about 18 percent of motor vehicle driver deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says.

Even when drunk or impaired driving does not end in death or injury, its effects are particularly costly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that the annual economic cost of alcohol-related motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States totals $49.8 billion.

In June 2015, it was reported that New York State had kept more than 7,500 repeat offenders off the road since implementing tougher DWI regulations in September 2012. Those individuals were denied relicensing either permanently or for an additional five years for having three or more alcohol or drug-related driving offenses on their record. As of July 31, the number has risen to more than 8,000.

On November 1, 2014, even stronger penalties were enacted in New York to deter impaired driving. Drivers convicted of DWI or DWAI three or more times in 15 years face a Class D felony charge, up to seven years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
To learn more about the risks of impaired driving and for traffic safety tips, visit the DMV website or contact the office of Joe Robach.


The office of Joe Robach announced this week that a record 92 percent of New Yorkers are buckling up and regularly using seat belts. This is the sixth consecutive year that seat-belt use has stayed at or above 90 percent, according to the New York State Seat Belt Observation Survey, conducted each year by the University at Albany Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research.

In a press release issued by his office, Joe Robach noted that New York was the first state to enact seatbelt laws in 1984. New York is a primary enforcement state, which means a law enforcement officer can stop a vehicle and issue a traffic ticket for failure to wear a seat belt without observing another violation. Failure to wear a seat belt carries a fine of up to $50.

Nationally, seat belt use in 2014 averaged 87 percent, according to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), conducted annually by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). New York was among only 19 states and the District of Columbia with seat belt use rates of 90 percent or higher. The 2014 NOPUS found that seat belt use continued to be higher in the states with primary seat belt laws compared to “secondary law states” where law enforcement can only write a ticket if they have stopped a vehicle for another alleged infraction.

In July, the State Police and New York State Parks Police partnered for the 2015 Buckle Up New York in the Parks, or BUNY in the Parks, an enforcement and educational campaign to encourage visiting motorists and passengers to properly buckle-up their seatbelts. This year the National Park Service Law Enforcement Division also participated in this campaign, which ran from July 11-26. The State Police and State Park Police conducted joint details on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley. The campaign resulted in 499 tickets issued for adult seat belt violations and 1,220 for child passenger safety violations.

From May 18-31, New York State participated in the national Click It or Ticket enforcement mobilization. As part of this effort, the New York State Police, county and municipal law enforcement agencies in marked and unmarked vehicles aggressively ticketed unbelted drivers traveling the state’s roadways through checkpoints and roving details. Nearly 25,000 tickets were issued for adult seat belt violations and nearly 2,500 for child passenger safety violations. The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Thruway Authority coordinated variable message boards with “Click It or Ticket” messaging on roadways throughout the campaign.

The office of Joe Robach also noted that according to NHTSA, there were 9,580 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes nationwide in 2013. Additionally, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) estimates that nearly 700 unbelted motorists per month are injured severely enough to require hospital treatment.