When it comes to putting Chautauqua County residents first, Assemblyman Andy Goodell strongly supports bipartisan legislation to make New York more business friendly, reduce health care costs for small businesses, and protect local landowners.
He is also taking a leadership role with Dunkirk Mayor A.J. Dolce to support NRG and has helped Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi to obtain special parkland legislation.
To make New York more business competitive and to reduce health care costs, Assemblyman Goodell cosponsored legislation with Assemblyman Schimminger (D-Tonawanda) to allow small businesses to offer a basic health care package without all the State mandates. This legislation would significantly reduce the cost of health insurance for small business owners and employees, thereby making New York more business competitive. It would also help small businesses afford to provide health insurance to their employees.
Goodell also cosponsored a bill with Assemblyman Levine (D-Glen Cove) that requires state agencies to give small businesses a reasonable chance to correct any regulatory issues without incurring any fines. "Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, providing job opportunities for thousands of local residents. The last thing we want to do is treat small business owners like criminals," noted Assemblyman Goodell. This legislation was adopted by the State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Shortly after being elected, Goodell reintroduced a bill originally drafted by former Assemblyman Bill Parment (D-North Harmony) to protect local homeowners in the unlikely event their water well is contaminated by a nearby gas well.
Under current law, a landowner has the burden of proving that any contamination of a water well was actually caused by the drilling of a nearby gas well. This burden of proof can be difficult and expensive because of the need for geology experts and other technical issues. The proposed legislation would shift the burden of proof to the gas well company to prove that the gas well did not affect any nearby water wells. The bill does not reduce liability for gas companies in any manner.
"As long as the gas companies continue to follow the strict environmental standards developed by DEC scientists, there will not be any groundwater contamination," noted Assemblyman Goodell. Indeed, ever since the first commercial natural gas well in the nation was drilled in Fredonia in 1821, more than 5,000 natural gas wells have been safely drilled in Chautauqua County.
The natural gas industry is also a very important part of the regional economy. According to NYSERDA, there are 4,500 to 5,000 people employed in the natural gas industry in western New York, with an estimated $1.25 billion impact on the region.
Natural gas wells provide valuable royalties and free gas to thousands of local homeowners and many local organizations in Chautauqua County, including the Girl Scouts, the Audubon Society, and several school districts.
"We need a balanced approach to natural gas drilling that allows us to benefit from this valuable resource in an environmentally responsible manner. That is why I reintroduced the Parment bill that would protect local residents in the unlikely event of any water contamination," noted Goodell.
Although Assemblyman Goodell has supported bipartisan legislation that helps Chautauqua County residents, he has remained a strong independent voice in Albany. He successfully spoke on the floor of the Assembly against a proposed $4 billion tax increase that was ultimate rejected, strongly opposed the efforts by liberal New York City Democrats to increase welfare cash benefits by 10 percent, and repeatedly opposed their liberal agenda of bigger government and higher taxes.
"Unlike my opponent, I do not support massive tax increases for the wholesale government takeover of health insurance that will eliminate thousands of private sector health insurance jobs. Nor do I support millions of dollars in higher taxes to pay for political campaigns," emphasized Goodell. "Bigger government and higher taxes are the problem, not the solution."
"Instead, I will continue to work with moderate legislators from both parties to foster more job growth, cut taxes and health care costs, protect our groundwater, and help local residents." concluded Assemblyman Goodell.