Republican state Sen. Peter Oberacker says his constituents are frustrated by high gas prices and paying more at the supermarket. Inflationary woes are made worse by the expense of living in a rural area.
"One area I'm absolutely really concerned about is the effect of fuel and home heating oil coming up with our winters here in Upstate New York," he said.
Rising inflation and alarm bells sounding over the broader economy have come as costs have gone up everywhere from the gas pump to the grocery store. Republicans and Democrats alike are trying to telegraph to voters their plans for fighting inflation.
Republicans in the state Senate have been increasingly critical of how Democrats in New York and nationally have handled the economy, presiding over the highest inflation since 1980. GOP state lawmakers on Monday revived calls for a formal cap on state spending.
"Here, we're asking the residents of New York to tighten our belts, to find ways to make their dollars go farther and what are we doing in Albany?" Oberacker said. "Just the opposite of it."
All of this comes as the 213 seats in the state Legislature, all statewide offices and members of Congress are up for election this year. Voter discontent over the economy and the uncertainty following two years of the pandemic has created a new wrinkle in the campaign season that up until now had largely been dominated by a debate over public safety and crime.
Increased state spending during this period of high inflation has also been picked up as a concern by Republican gubernatorial nominee Lee Zeldin, who says New York's budget has become too bloated.
"While you are seeing these economic numbers coming out at a national level, it's not a level playing field in all 50 states and it's very much going in the wrong direction here in New York," Zeldin said during a news conference last week.
But Democrats, including Gov. Kathy Hochul, have pointed to areas where they've sought to tame prices: suspending gas taxes from June until the of the year and issuing rebate checks for homeowners. Hochul has also warned cabinet officials a more complicated economic picture may emerge next year in stark contrast to the current budget.
In Congress, lawmakers have put the finishing touches on a bill meant to spur semiconductor manufacturing, a measure Zeldin opposed. Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko says this will relieve a supply chain log jam.
"Without massive supply disruptions our nation's manufacturers will again be able to offer consumer technology at affordable prices to everyday Americans," he said.
Tonko also pointed to a massive domestic spending bill that will allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and invest in renewable forms of energy.
"This response to inflation coming from this center of our country is indeed monumental," Tonko said.