News

Lawler: Rockland County Schools Hurt By Unfair State School Aid Formula And Jaffee Funding Cuts; Vows To Fix It

June 8, 2020

Rockland Report

PEARL RIVER, NY – This year, due to COVID-19, all registered voters in Rockland County will be mailed a ballot to vote in their local School District Elections, including on the 2020-2021 school budget. You must return your ballot to your respective school district by June 16th.

Before you vote, though, you should know, that Rockland County schools have been hurt year-after-year, by an unfair state school aid formula, that shortchanges our children and increases our property taxes.

An episode of “A Minute with Mike” – he talks about the unfair state school aid formula which has shortchanged our children and increased our property taxes.

We already pay the second highest property taxes in the nation and have a high cost of living, yet the school aid formula treats our labor costs the same as Poughkeepsie, as opposed to Long Island and New York City.

My opponent, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, hasn’t fixed that broken school aid formula during her 14 years in Albany. Worse, just this year, she voted to cut state school aid to Suffern, Pearl River, and South Orangetown School Districts, while voting to create a $200 million dollar taxpayer funded campaign finance system.

It’s outrageous and has put our school districts and property taxpayers in the unenviable position of having to raise taxes, at a time when residents can least afford it, or make draconian budget cuts and consider layoffs to balance their budgets, in the event of a failed budget vote.

As your Assemblyman, I will fix this broken formula and ensure our public schools in Rockland County get their fair share of state school aid.

Article written by Mike Lawler, who is the Deputy Supervisor for the Town of Orangetown and a candidate for the New York State Assembly seat for the 97th district. He lives in Pearl River.

State school aid formula hurts Rockland

June 6, 2020

The Journal News

By Mike Lawler
Special to the USA Today Network

This year, due to COVID-19, all registered voters in Rockland County will be mailed a ballot to vote in their local School District Elections, including on the 2020-2021 school budget. You must return your ballot to your respective school district by June 9th.

Before you vote, though, you should know, that Rockland County schools have been hurt year-after-year, by an unfair state school aid formula, that shortchanges our children and increases our property taxes.

We already pay the second highest property taxes in the nation and have a high cost of living, yet the school aid formula treats our labor costs the same as Poughkeepsie, as opposed to Long Island and New York City.

My opponent, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, hasn’t fixed that broken school aid formula during her 14 years in Albany.  Worse, just this year, she voted to cut state school aid to Suffern, Pearl River, and South Orangetown School Districts, while voting to create a $200 million dollar taxpayer funded campaign finance system.

It’s outrageous and has put our school districts and property taxpayers in the unenviable position of having to raise taxes, at a time when residents can least afford it, or make draconian budget cuts and consider layoffs to balance their budgets, in the event of a failed budget vote.

As your Assemblyman, I will fix this broken formula and ensure our public schools in Rockland County get their fair share of state school aid.

Mike Lawler is a candidate for the New York State Assembly seat for the 97th district. He lives in Pearl River.

Assembly Candidate Mike Lawler Donates 5,000 Masks to Orangetown Organizations

May 18, 2020

Rockland Report

PEARL RIVER, NY – Orangetown Deputy Supervisor and candidate for New York State Assembly Mike Lawler joined his cousin Andy Noble and drove around the Town of Orangetown to deliver 5,000 masks.

Andy’s company, ABCO Systems Inc purchased the masks and wanted to make a donation to organizations in our community. They delivered masks to Montefiore Nyack, the Town of Orangetown, Orangetown Police Department, Piermont Police Department, Village of Nyack, Rockland County AOH, Pearl River Elks 2041, the John H Secor American Legion Post 329 Pearl River NY, and the Blauvelt Sons of Italy.

Surviving COVID-19 & reviving our economy

May 12, 2020

Rockland County Times

By Michael Lawler
Republican candidate for NYS Assembly District 97

Back in late February, when I announced my candidacy for State Assembly, most people were vaguely aware of the growing COVID-19 pandemic overseas, but few saw it impacting our lives here in New York State in such a dramatic way.

Fast forward a couple months, and I am blessed to have recovered from my own personal bout with the virus and grateful to all the first responders and medical professionals on the front lines who cared for me and the epidemiologists and scientists behind the scenes rushing to find a vaccine. Most of all, my thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of the virus who were not so fortunate. Every life is precious and the burden on families not able to be with their loved ones at the end is truly heartbreaking.

One thing, however, has not changed throughout all of this, and that is my reason for running in the first place.  New York State and Rockland County are increasingly unaffordable for working families, retirees, and young adults just starting out, and sadly, due in part to the outbreak, it’s only getting worse.

State Budget Director Robert Mujica recently announced a preliminary 10 percent spending cut across all state agencies and a reduction of $8.2 billion in state-aid to municipalities. These reductions in state-aid, if implemented, will overburden our already beleaguered municipalities, who have fought hard to stay under the property tax cap and cause them to enact draconian budget cuts and massive property-tax hikes.

Consider this: Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. economy was booming, unemployment was at its lowest level in over half a century, and the stock market was soaring.  Yet, here in New York State we were staring down the proverbial barrel of a $6 billion budget deficit.  Now, due to COVID-19, that deficit could double or even triple without painful corrective action.

If we don’t change course soon, a future of ever-increasing taxes, cuts in essential programs and services, and people continuing to flee to greener (i.e. more affordable) pastures is imminent. But, New Yorkers are resilient and we’ve fought back before. After 9/11; after the collapse of the financial markets in 2008; and after Superstorm Sandy. Each time we came through it, stronger, wiser, and more united.

We can do it again, but we must be willing to make difficult choices to help ease the burden on taxpayers and get our economy moving again. It means prioritizing school aid, transportation and energy infrastructure, health care, and pensions over progressive proposals like free college tuition for undocumented immigrants, taxpayer funded political campaigns, and New York’s version of the “Green New Deal.”

It means reining in an out-of-control Medicaid system and mandating the state fully pay for and run it or allowing the counties to finally have a say in what services are offered above the federal minimum. It means ending the failed “economic development” programs like Start-Up New York and the billions in corporate giveaways to big donors and companies that don’t need it and shoring up our existing small businesses.

It means, putting the needs of taxpayers and those who truly need government assistance ahead of special interests, political interests, and personal interests. It means imposing a state spending cap, prioritizing what is essential versus what is not, and fighting to help municipalities stay under the property tax cap.

Sadly, my opponent, 14-year incumbent Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee has been part of the problem. Just this year she voted to cut school aid to Rockland County while voting to create a $200 million taxpayer funded campaign finance system. It’s outrageous!

The simple fact is that we cannot continue down this path. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we need to prepare in good times for the unknown crises of the future.

As a lifelong resident of Rockland County, I am eager to be part of the solution. For too long, Rockland has been overtaxed – we pay the second highest property taxes in the nation – and under-represented. Without a strong voice standing up to the status quo in Albany, not much will change.

While I am a Republican who believes in lower taxes, individual freedom, smaller government, and free markets, most importantly I am a New Yorker who cares about building a brighter future for our state and all of our residents.  I look forward to the challenge ahead and doing all I can to earn your vote.

Orangetown Deputy Supervisor Michael Lawler Details Battling COVID-19

April 14, 2020

Rockland Report

PEARL RIVER, NY – On March 27, Town of Orangetown Deputy Supervisor Michael Lawler went public with his positive test for COVID-19.

Lawler used his platform to help encourage residents to take the coronavirus serious and adhere to social distancing and to stay at home if possible. He has provided multiple video updates on what his symptoms were, how testing is done, and provided hope for anyone who also came down with the virus.

Rockland: Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee faces challenge from Orangetown’s Michael Lawler

February 26, 2020

The Journal News

By Robert Brum

Veteran lawmaker Ellen Jaffee faces her most aggressive reelection challenge in years as she seeks to capture an eighth term representing parts of Ramapo and Orangetown in the state Assembly.

Jaffee, a Democrat from Suffern who has served in Albany for 14 years, announced her intention to seek another two-year term just days after Republican Michael Lawler jumped into the race. 

Lawler, a campaign consultant and strategist who was formerly the state GOP’s executive director, currently serves as Orangetown’s deputy town supervisor.

In a news release announcing her decision to seek reelection, Jaffee touted her efforts to “ensure that every child regardless of zip code has access to what our state guarantees — the right to a quality and equitable education.”

Jaffee pointed out her sponsorship of the so-called “boss bill,” which empowers women and families to make reproductive health decisions without interference from their employers.

As chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families, Jaffee said she expanded access to quality, affordable childcare by creating a childcare task force.

“No family, whether low or middle income, should have to pay childcare costs that nearly equal housing costs,” she said. “Quality affordable childcare predicts success for all children. I consider it a right.”

She also serves on the Environmental Conservation, Health, Mental Health and Education committees.

Jaffee, 75, easily won reelection over her last two opponents, Chestnut Ridge Mayor Rosario Presti in 2018 and Joseph Chabot in 2016. The 2020 election is Nov. 3.

Before serving in the Assembly, she was elected as Suffern village trustee and a Rockland County legislator.

The Assembly district, which covers parts of Ramapo and all of Orangetown, has nearly 80,000 registered voters, with registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans by a more than two-to-one ratio.

‘Affordability crisis’

In a news release announcing his candidacy, Lawler, 33, positioned himself as an advocate for lowering taxes, streamlining government and tackling Albany corruption.

“We live in the second highest taxed county in America and our elected representatives in Albany have failed to address the critical issues impacting our communities,” he said. “I’m running because we have an affordability crisis that’s making it near-impossible for average families to live here. This did not happen on its own: Rockland has been short-changed on school aid for decades — leading to crippling local tax hikes and underperforming schools — and our incumbent officials have allowed it to go on. That’s wrong and it must end.”

The Pearl River resident and Suffern High School graduate previously worked in the Westchester County Executive’s office.

Lawler supports statewide term limits. He said that among the issues his campaign will address are: Criminal justice reforms “that are returning dangerous criminals to our communities;” a state education formula that he says shortchanges Rockland schools; rising Medicaid costs; and MTA cost overruns and reduced service to Rockland County.

Lawler To Run For Assembly Against Jaffe In AD-97

February 25, 2020

Hudson Power Broker

Republican strategist Mike Lawler will announce today that he is challenging Assemblymember Ellen Jaffe (D) in the 97th Assembly District. Lawler cut his political teeth working on the 2008 presidential election of Senator John McCain. He also worked for the New York Republican State Committee and managed the Astorino for Governor campaign in 2014. Lawler is a native New Yorker. He graduated from Manhattan College with a degree in Business Administration and was named Valedictorian.

Jaffe was elected to the Assembly in 1997. She is currently Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families.

The 97th Assembly District runs along the New Jersey border and includes all or part of Suffern, Spring Valley, Pearl River, Orangeburg, and Nyack. 

Lawler will have a campaign kickoff event on Saturday, March 7th at 10am at the Blauvelt Sons of Italy.

Michael Lawler Running For NYS Assembly District 97

February 25, 2020

Rockland Report

PEARL RIVER, NY: Lifelong Rockland County resident and Town of Orangetown Deputy Supervisor Michael Lawler has announced that he will be running for the 97th district of the New York State Assembly. The district is composed of the Towns of Orangetown and Ramapo, and is currently held by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee since 2012.

Lawler, age 33, is a graduate of Suffern High School and Manhattan College, where he was named Valedictorian. In 2019, City and State selected him as one of the top 50 political consultants in New York.

Michael started his political career in 2008 on the Presidential campaign of United States Senator John McCain. He then spent four years at the New York Republican State Committee, including nearly two-and-a-half years as Executive Director, coinciding with a resurgence that saw Republicans take back control of the New York State Senate, elect seven new Republican Members of Congress, and make significant gains across the state with County Executives, District Attorneys, Sheriff’s, Clerks and County Legislators. He has also served in local government, previously working in the Westchester County Executive’s office.

“Mike has been an invaluable part of our team and understands how to put together a winning campaign, but I’ve long believed Mike has more to offer not just to our party, but Rockland County. As a Suffern High School graduate and Pearl River resident, Mike knows the people of this district and has the skills, intellect, and work ethic to serve as our next Assemblyman. I’m proud to support Mike and look forward to helping him win in November.” said Rockland County Republican Party Chairman Lawrence Garvey.

“Michael Lawler as Chairman of the Orangetown Committee is a valued asset and will be a strong leader in the NYS assembly. The Ramapo Republican Committee is proud to support his candidacy for the 97th Assembly District.” said Ramapo Republican Committee Chairman Marino Fontanta.

The 97th Assembly District is currently held by longtime Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee. Lawler is the most significant and qualified challenger Jaffee has ever faced. With running mate Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann running for NYS Senate, this is by far the most serious slate of candidates the Rockland County Republican Party has fielded for state elected offices.

Michael who grew up in Nanuet before moving to Suffern, lives in Pearl River (NY) with his wife Doina.