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Legislature Agrees to Stronger DWI Laws, Assembly Republicans Push Tax Cuts

By Mark Scott

Albany, NY – Leaders of the State Senate and Assembly agreed to a package of bills Monday that will toughen the state's laws against drunken driving. One of them creates the crime of "aggravated driving while intoxicated" for drivers with a blood-alcohol content of point-one-eight or higher. Another bill would extend the amount of time a repeat DWI offender's license could be revoked.

Also Monday, the Republican minority in the Assembly called for passage of five tax cuts before lawmakers adjourn for the year later this week. The Republicans targeted Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chairman Denny Farrell, who in his role as State Democratic Party chairman questioned whether tax cuts are a priority. Farrell later retracted his remarks. But state Assemblyman Jim Hayes of Williamsville says it's time for Farrell to back that up with action.

"The men and women of the Assembly's Republican conference have a very strong message for Chairman Farrell and the Democratic majority of the State Assembly," Hayes said. "There is no doubt what our number one priority is for this legislative session. That's tax cuts."

Hayes says the Republicans are pushing for a $400 million reduction in the personal income tax rate as well as greater property tax relief through the state's STAR program.