Our middle class needs property tax relief.

Middle-class, upstate New Yorkers pay too much in property taxes. It’s completely out of line with the average wages in the area. Having a cap on property taxes and getting a refund check isn’t enough for the voters of SD-46. It simply doesn’t address the root cause of the problem: the very rich and well-connected still enjoy many loopholes and tax breaks. The middle class, small business owners and family farmers are left to fight for the scraps amongst themselves.

Middle class families and small businesses are just getting penalized and taxed in other ways. Essential services are being cut to the bone. And families have to choose between struggling and leaving.

Part of the solution is to bring good jobs to our area. As the executive director of the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State, I’ve supported the movements to raise workers’ wages and provide family leave for working families. Over the same period of time, George Amedore has repeatedly voted against raising the minimum wage at all.

Part of the solution is in more effective economic development programs. New York State spends $9B annually in our state, but it’s not clear that it’s benefiting our region’s small businesses and family farms. Let’s stop giving handouts to political insiders.

Let’s stop giving handouts to political insiders.

And finally, to the benefit our funding-deprived upstate schools, I will fight for our schools to no longer rely on property taxes for the bulk of their funding. The year-to-year uncertainty about budgets is putting our most vulnerable schools into desperate situations. Programs are being cut and students are suffering, especially compared to those in well-funded downstate schools. My opponent’s only suggestion is that parents who send their kids to private school should get tax breaks.

I’ve dedicated my career to fighting for the middle class, and I’m not stopping now. Here’s what I had to say in 2013:

“New York State’s current tax system is built upon a strong preference for the very rich and a shameful willingness to let the majority of New Yorkers struggle needlessly with issues of quality education, critical community resources, and astronomical property taxes compared to income. The wealthiest among us owe a debt to the communities that brought them prosperity and lawmakers need to finally hold them to account.”

Let’s put our community back on track. Vote for me on November 8.

NY Women’s Rights Are No Longer Safe. Let’s change that.

On the floor of our own NYS Senate, a Republican majority has put its personal beliefs before the rights of women by blocking the proposed Reproductive Health Act since 2013, as well as blocking the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act in 2016 and opposing the Achieve Pay Equity Law.

I’m Sara Niccoli, and I’m running for State Senate in SD-46. Your vote for me will be a step toward bringing  New York women’s rights back into the 21st century. Even though there are federal laws on the books guaranteeing women’s rights to earning equal pay for equal work and making family planning decisions, hardline Republicans like my opponent George Amedore have fought tooth and nail to chip away at them on a state level.

New York State is not alone in this phenomenon; research from the Guttmacher Institute has found that the number of challenges and restrictions to reproductive rights on state levels have skyrocketed in recent years.

roe-v-wade-not-as-safe-as-you-think-chart

Want specifics for New York? The Reproductive Health Act would proactively guarantee the right of New York State women to make decisions to preserve their health, and the freedom of qualified doctors who provide reproductive services. It would ensure that New Yorkers have the equivalent of Roe vs. Wade fully codified into state law.

George Amedore says that he’s anti-choice with “no-exceptions,” and is part of a Republican majority that has blocked the passage of the act.

The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act would close loopholes that allow insurance companies to pick and choose which forms of birth control are covered under their plans. It would also force insurance companies to dispense up to 12 months of contraceptives at one time to patients, instead of requiring them to return to pharmacies for refills at one or three-month intervals. This small measure actually has been proven to reduce rates of unintended pregnancy by up to 30 percent; it makes a big difference people with jobs, school, or who live in a rural community far from a pharmacy. George Amedore voted against this act.

“Whether New York expands [women’s reproductive] rights… may all come down to who controls the state Senate in January.”

And although NY’s Achieve Pay Equity bill did end up passing in 2015, it wasn’t before George Amedore voted against equal pay for equal work a grand total of ten times.

If you live in SD-46, voting for me over my opponent is a significant action that you can take for women across our state. Regardless of what happens in the presidential election, where there’s a candidate saying that women “should be punished” for exercising their reproductive rights, we will be represented by a true advocate for women.

The decision is yours on November 8. Click here to receive updates from my campaign until then.

Climate Change is Real. Do You Agree?

Climate change is real and it’s here, both for the planet as a whole and in New York’s SD 46.

I care: as a farmer, as a mother, and as a candidate to be your next State Senator. I’ve pledged to use my platform to address climate change and protect our natural resources. Your vote on November 8 can make a real, measurable difference on the environment.

Our own Department of Environmental Conservation has been talking about it:

Climate change is projected to especially disrupt the livelihood of our farmers, who are plentiful in our community: across Montgomery, Albany, Schenectady, Ulster and Greene counties, we have about 2,000 farms and over 325,000 acres of land dedicated to farming. Climate change means that important crops won’t grow, seasons will be disrupted, and more unpredictability will wreak havoc on businesses and families.

George Amedore doesn’t acknowledge the existence of climate change, and has barely even mentioned the word “environment” on social media in his time in office. And more importantly, he’s way down on the bell curve when it comes to his voting record; he’s rated as the 15th-worst member across our state’s 213 senators and assemblymembers by EPL/Environmental Advocates 2015 and 2016 scorecards. His score reflects his votes for cutting down New York’s wetlands, stalling the state’s effort to modernize our energy infrastructure, giving handouts to fossil fuel companies, and shortchanging the DEC on critical funding.

nys-assembly-senate-environmental-scorecard-2015-2016
Enough is enough. The choices we make now will decide whether our children will have streams to play in, whether our food will grow, and whether we will have safe water to drink. As State Senator, I will fight to protect the environment for future generations.

Your involvement is key to the success of my campaign. Take the first step and sign up to receive updates!

-Sara Niccoli

In The News: Amedore rival Niccoli opens headquarters in Guilderland

Source: Spotlight News
Date: August 26, 2016

“George Amedore has continuously ignored the needs of families right here in the 46th,” said Sara Niccoli, state senate candidate and a resident of the senate district covering Montgomery and Greene counties, as well as parts of Albany, Schenectady and Ulster counties. “I look forward to fighting for our communities, our schools and our small businesses.”

Click here to read the full article.

In The News: Palatine Supervisor Niccoli mulls state Senate run

Source: The Daily Gazette
Date: January 12, 2016

After a successful election in Palatine in November, Town Supervisor Sara Niccoli is exploring a run for the 46th state Senate district, currently held by Republican George Amedore. Niccoli, a Democrat who led a successful bipartisan “Responsible Government” slate to victory in Palatine in November, said her interest in the Senate seat stems largely from her experience as a mother. “A lot of this is about my experience as a parent of a child in …

Click here to read the full article.

In The News: Common Core criticism standard in state Senate races

Source: The Daily Gazette
Date: September 4, 2016

In state Senate races, antipathy toward Common Core education standards and annual state tests cuts across party lines: both Democrats and Republicans find reasons to pile on to statewide criticism.

In the area’s two state Senate races – seats currently held by Republicans George Amedore and Hugh Farley – all of the candidates during interviews last week took swipes of some kind at the controversial education standards and state tests that drew an over 20 percent opt-out rate for the second straight year this spring. But specific legislative proposals are few.

Click here to read the full article.