PUTNAM COUNTY, N.Y. -- When he's shopping the stores in Cold Spring or hiking in Putnam, State Sen. Terry Gipson (D-Rhinebeck), is often approached with voters about one issue: lowering taxes.
Gipson is in his first term in a district that covers Putnam Valley, Kent and Phillipstown.
"For way too long it just hasn't been affordable to live in the Hudson Valley," Gipson said. "We need to lower the cost of living."
The senator said he would like to change the way education is funded in New York, saying the current way is outdated.
"Property owners are paying for the majority of public education costs," Gipson said. "The state used to contribute more but times have changed. We need to reduce property taxes without harming education."
Gipson said he wants his colleagues in Albany to look at how they can reduce the tax burden on residents.
"It's going to be difficult," Gipson said. "A lot of these regulations have been put in place since the state was founded. It's not fair to the taxpayer."
Making it easier for small businesses to operate in the state is another one of Gipson's goals. Gipson previously ran his own small business, Gipson Design Group.
"Instead of giving tax breaks to large businesses, let's give benefits to small businesses," Gipson said.
Gipson proposed a no interest loan that would allow for small businesses owners to pay for 20 percent of their new hires for three years, provided they hire in-state.
"This will help small businesses grow," Gipson said. "This will tap into our resources. There are people in Putnam with great ideas but they need to hire people and they can't afford it."
In a state that gives IBM millions, Gipson said New York should be able to identify entrepreneurs who have good ideas.
Gipson secured a $100,000 grant to help build Imagination Station 2, a playground at Kent Elementary School that Gipson said keeps kids active while allowing them to use their imaginations.
Gipson has also helped secure funding for the proposed Fjord trail, a 9-mile hiking trail that would link Constitution Island in Cold Spring to the Beacon Train Station.